Letter to the Editor

To debate or not debate…that is the question

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

To the Editor:

My apologies to William Shakespeare for adapting his line, but political debates are in and of themselves debatable. According to various articles and studies on the subject, political debates have little to no impact on a voter’s decision for whom they would vote, but are attended and viewed by those who have already made up their minds, primarily to support their chosen candidate and for entertainment purposes. The water-cooler talk after such debates is less about the issues and more about the one line zingers candidates shot at each other in attempts to publicly embarrass one another, and in some cases even the moderator of the debate.

I believe those who truly want to learn about a candidate and their position on any issue prefer a more personable form of communication, such as having a candidate address a particular group, public meet and greets, phone calls, emails and especially social media were they can have direct contact with the candidate. I know this is my belief and is why I have maintained open forms of communication throughout my term as a county commissioner and as a county mayoral candidate. Anyone and everyone who wants to really know my positions, and the reasoning for them, has several avenues to contact me directly and I appreciate the great many who have done so.

I have been invited to participate in a debate sponsored by the Bedford County Education Association on April 10. The format will only allow 60 seconds to answer any question that will be asked and we will be given a signal when the time is about to expire. I was informed by the BCEA that the majority of those questions will be on education issues. What is the purpose of allowing such a short amount of time to respond to questions as important as our children’s education and the system that controls it? It will take a lot longer than one minute for me to explain how I have developed my positions on important issues such as school safety, school buildings, portables, budgets, communication (or the lack thereof) between governing bodies, etc… and for that reason, I have chosen to not participate in this debate.

I will be happy to expound my positions on any of the issues facing Bedford County, including those of public education and the roles of the County Mayor, Board of Commissioners and Board of Education in forums where full answers could be provided. I enjoy civil conversations on all issues but I do not argue, publicly or privately, and will not put myself in a position to be goaded into such behavior.

I will be posting several articles on my positions with schools in the coming days to my blog on http://www.ChuckHeflin.com and social media, as well as the local paper, and I invite anyone to contact me with questions.

Chuck Heflin,


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