Irey, Murtha need to debate the issuesI wholeheartedly agree.
It is time for a debate in the 12th Congressional District race.
Voters deserve more than the constant Iraq-war rhetoric they have been getting from incumbent John Murtha and the steady attacks on Murthas character from challenger Diana Irey.
While this race has not lacked for drama, it has lacked for substance.
Irey has called three press conferences in the past week each time reacting to published information about Murtha.
n First, she responded to stories about Murthas fundraising efforts by calling for an investigation of the congressmans tactics.
n Then, she called for Murtha to respond to a newly released video tied to his involvement in the Abscam scandal in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
n Finally, she reacted Tuesday to a weekend New York Times article that described Murthas penchant for wheeling and dealing in the House, and his willingness to partner with representatives of both parties none of which was news to people who know Murtha.
For Murthas part, he has hardly recognized that there is a race. He has spent much more time defending his Iraq war statements and helping other Democrats raise campaign money than actually talking about the issues in his home district.
Even a Saturday rally in Johnstowns Central Park was all about Murthas support for the military in the face of criticism from Veterans for the Truth and other organizations, without acknowledging that the stated mission of the Boot Murtha effort is to keep the longtime congressman from getting re-elected.
It all makes for interesting theater. But voters deserve more.
Lets get these candidates together to talk about the issues:
n Immigration and national security;
n Government spending;
n Fuel costs and dependence upon foreign oil;
n Health care;
n Abortion and family values.
These are all topics Irey has said are important to her. They are among the platforms for her campaign highlighted on her Web site www.irey.com.
Lets talk about them.
Murtha likes to point to the number of jobs hes brought to the district, to his ability to steer defense contracts back to his home region. He likes to tout his impact on health care in the region. (His Web site: www.house.gov/murtha/)
Lets talk about that, too.
The Tribune-Democrat has offered to help schedule and sponsor a congressional debate. Local electronic media have made similar offers.
Voters deserve a chance to see these candidates debate the issues face to face.
PA-12's voters deserve nothing less than the opportunity to make an informed choice.