Absences standout at Mo. candidate forum on disabilities

It’s inevitable that candidates miss forums. There’s only one candidate, and they can’t be everywhere at once.

So it’s understandable when candidates don’t show up in-person at say a forum on disability issues in Missouri. However, this doesn’t excuse the campaigns from not sending a representative to speak on behalf of the candidate.

There are numerous state Reps and state Senators who position themselves to bask in publicity by appearing at statewide candidate policy unveilings in their district. These events are usually a roomful of reporters and political operatives standing around while the candidate and the local rep/senator give their canned responses. Most of the time these news conferences are more style than substance. The policy info is usually released on their Web sites immediately after the conference.

Reps and state senators also make sure to gladhand at other less substantive campaign functions — fundraisers, stump speeches and the like.

So, I think it’s fair to say that candidates had plenty of options when it came to finding a sub to speak at the disabilities forum. By not appearing, it gives the impression that the candidates don’t include disability issues as major priorities in their policies.

Given that an estimated 1 million Missourians have disabilities, I don’t think that the priorities of Missouri residents are reflected in those of some candidates.

Here’s a post from The Stone Quarry.

And the Missourian story published on Sunday.

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17 Responses

  1. Nice post Chad. I made a point to call each candidate to find out why they could not attend and why they did not send a substitute. Sadly, I could not reach them.

    I’d like to believe they each tried to send a representative, but who knows. The organizers seemed disappointed, and the candidates that did come made a really good impression on the audience.

  2. The empty chairs on the forum panel certainly left an impression, and I imagine — had the campaigns anticipated that large room would literally overfow with citizens concerned about disability issues — they’d have tried harder to attend or to send surrogates. As a member of the Congress on Disability Policy which sponsored the event, I attest to the fact that all candidates from both major parties were repeatedly invited, provided the questions in advance, and urged to participate. Our sincere intention was to have bipartisan representation, and we remain committed to establishing and maintaining meaningful dialog with our state leaders, regardless of their party affiliation.

  3. If you read the article over on the Missourian John Schultz who heads the local Libertarian Party was curious why their candidates and other various party candidates were not invited to this function. Maybe the group can invite them in the future so they do not feel so left out although after reading many of their political party stances on this disability issue I myself am not impressed by the policies they present.

    http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2008/10/04/candidates-forum-highlights-disability-issues/

    I made my comments to John Schultz on the matter but he seemed to only want to argue the point as if it was supposed to be a given that they naturally be invited and another disabled friend of mine made the comment to me that since it was publicly announced why couldn’t they just show up on that day of the forum if they were so inclined or interested in doing so

    I agree with over 1 million disabled in our state you would think all top office candidates would have been there.

  4. Chuck, you say it was publicly announced, but I could find no news stories preceding the forum, other than an article in the Tribune the morning of the event. All we are asking (cue John Lennon) is for third-party candidates to receive the same notice of forum as the Republican and Democrat candidates.

  5. Well John Schultz being you are the leader of your party in this entire area people would think you would be up on all of this issues concerning your party that is if your party was actually concerned to begin with. You would be on all of the various mailing lists,you would be in communication with all of the sponsors involved so you could be better informed. Is that too far below your party standards to be “in the know” on these types of important issues if you are so concerned as to not being there my suggestion is since you are the leader of your party in this area you get with the program just as the Repubs and the Dems do.
    I am not trying to be mean here by far but any citizen would think it is just good common sense for a local party leader to be better in the know by getting on those mailing lists that are important to them if they actually have viable solutions and policies to present to the public at candidate forums.
    I’m just a common citizen and even I know that much. 🙂

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