As I am out in Washburn County campaigning and meeting the people, a common theme keeps reoccurring. People frequently ask me if the Sheriff candidates are going to have a debate. There seems to be a genuine interest in having the candidates take questions from the citizens in an unscripted format. Historically, Washburn County has often held debates between the candidates running for Sheriff.
The answer I provide when posed with this question leaves people less than satisfied. I have been approached by three separate people, from three different groups, seeking my involvement in a public debate. I have advised all of these people that I would be glad to be in a Sheriff’s debate. I think this format is the best example of transparency and openness to the electorate. I see a debate as a chance to inform the voters on my stances as their future Sheriff, and a good way to exhibit the knowledge and skills that are necessary to be an effective Sheriff. I would think that anyone competing for public office would jump at the chance to showcase their education, qualifications, and experience, and speak to the voters as to why they feel they are the best candidate for the job.
Unfortunately, to date, all three people requesting my involvement in a debate have reported that my opponent has no interest in a live debate, or has not responded to their requests in any way. I have no way to know how many phone calls, e-mails, or Facebook messages these requesters have made to my opponent without response.
A Sheriff will be required to respond and make public statements in the course of his/her duties. These statements will oftentimes be reactive and responsive to the public, who has a right to be informed. Your next Sheriff should have the knowledge base to answer questions directly to the public, without relying on others to prepare statements and complete research into the subject matter.
Hopefully, after posting this, my opponent will consider a public debate. Both candidates should empower the voters of Washburn County by providing the information required to allow citizens to go to the polls informed.
Candidate for The Office of Washburn County Sheriff.
Authorized and Paid for by Mike Richter
[Photo & Graphic Art Design by Kara Vincent Art]