Here’s Helen’s statement as to why she didn’t attend the debate:
Late yesterday afternoon, after repeatedly requesting information for several weeks, I was finally informed of the forum details for a school bond issue debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters Wichita-Metro to be held today on KAKE television.
When I was informed that Wichita Eagle editorial board member Mark McCormick, a strident supporter of the proposed Wichita school bond issue, was to be a member of the panel for this debate, I asked that he be replaced. McCormick’s editorial commentary has repeatedly criticized Citizens for Better Education in a highly charged and opinionated manner. McCormick’s recent appearance on Kansas Week (10/24) as a bond proponent spokesman further disqualified him as a non -partisan panelist. McCormick is certainly entitled to his opinion; however, I feel his participation, as a panelist, is not in the best interests of a fair and civil debate.
According to the National League of Women Voter’s website, the guidelines for debate states: “It is a given that panelists must have no previous relationship with any of the candidates.” It is obvious to anyone that has followed this public debate that McCormick has adamantly taken a stand in support of the bond issue and constitutes the very type of relationship that this guideline warns against.
For these reasons, after due deliberation, and with the support of Citizens for Better Education, I have decided not to participate in this debate organized by the League of Women Voters Wichita-Metro.