By Sarah Kessinger
Nearly all of the area candidates for local and state offices have confirmed they will speak at a public forum at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 17 in the Marysville City Building.The candidate forum, sponsored by the Advocate, KNDY Radio and Blue Valley Tele-Communications, will feature a question-answer format and will be video-recorded for broadcast before the Nov. 6 general election.
The event is open to the public, and refreshments will be served.
The one area candidate for state Legislature who declined to attend was Sen. Dennis Pyle, Hiawatha Republican. Pyle faces challenger Steve Lukert, Sabetha Democrat, in the election.
Because of redistricting this past spring, Senate District 1, currently represented by Pyle, was expanded into eastern Marshall County.Lukert, a former Kansas House member, said he had attended 13 forums and debates so far in the district and Pyle had not attended.
“Senator Pyle knows I’m going to hammer him on education, and that’s not an issue he wants to talk about,” Lukert said recently while campaigning in Marshall County.
E-mails sent to invite Pyle to the Marysville forum were referred to a Republican Debate Committee. The committee spokesman Rick Wright, Whiting, replied by e-mail with a set of 10 “debate” criteria that would have to be met for Pyle to appear.
The debate criteria said the event could not be held in a public building during working hours and that no public employee could be required to attend as part of their job. Another requirement stated that there could be no restrictions on applause.
The rest of the debate criteria agreement is posted with this story on the Advocate’s website, marysvilleonline.net.
Advocate editor Sarah Kessinger explained to Wright that the local event was a forum, rather than a debate. Forums are often held in Marysville’s City Building and have not generated complaints in the past.
The only local candidate to decline was Democrat Leon Wassenberg, Marysville, who is challenging incumbent Second District county commissioner Tom Holle, Bremen Republican. Wassenberg could not be reached for comment. Holle has confirmed he will attend.
Planning to attend:
Marshall County treasurer
Jami Ellenbecker, Marysville Democrat
Jenny Mathewson, Marysville Republican
Marshall County commissioner, District 3
Pat Caffrey, Lillis Democrat
Charlie Loiseau, Frankfort Republican, incumbent
Marshall County Commissioner District 2
Tom Holle, Bremen Republican, incumbent
Declined invitation — Leon Wassenberg, Marysville Democrat
Kansas Senate District 36 (western Marshall County)
Elaine Bowers, Concordia Republican
Marquis Clark, Concordia Democrat
Kansas Senate District 1 (eastern Marshall County)
Steve Lukert, Sabetha Democrat
Declined invitation —Dennis Pyle, Hiawatha Republican, incumbent
Kansas House District 106
Nick Levendofsky, Belleville Democrat
Sharon Schwartz, Washington Republican, incumbent
State school board District 6
Deena Horst, Salina Republican
Carol Viar, Salina Democrat
Second district congressional candidates Lynn Jenkins, Topeka Republican, and Democratic challenger Tobias Schlingensiepen, Topeka, have not confirmed whether they will attend.
First District U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, Fowler Republican, has no opponent and will not attend.