What if they planned a debate and only one candidate showed up? One candidate would get to answer all the questions without argument. That’s what happened Tuesday, May 25, when the Chesterfield Business Council and the Chesterfield County Council of PTAs sponsored a debate between the two candidates running for the House of Delegates seat in the 27th District recently vacated by Sam Nixon. The debate was scheduled between Democrat Dr. William Brown and Republican Dr. Roxanne Robinson in preparation for a special election that will take place June 15.
Democrats close to Brown said they didn’t know why Robinson decided not to participate in the debate. During the debate, Brown took several opportunities to portray Robinson as someone who wasn’t willing to deal with the hard questions.
“I’m troubled by my opponent’s decision to avoid participating in this forum, because it will be the only opportunity before the election on June 15 to see us in action together and to see our reactions to the sorts of issues that we would be facing if elected,” Brown said. “Frankly, it does make me wonder what she is hiding“
Ray Allen, Jr., a partner at Marcus and Allen, LLC, a political consulting firm, said his client, Robinson, was not available for the debate. “She was unable to attend,” Allen said. “These things happen in campaigns.”
Allen also pointed out that Robinson and Brown had both addressed the Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce during the organization’s May business meeting. But one Brown supporter said the candidates were not asked questions and only presented their platforms.
During the short “debate,” Brown addressed what he thought were the most important issues facing the commonwealth. Transportation, education and state finances were high on his list, he said. He also said he was concerned with unfunded mandates.
“State legislators complain about unfunded mandates being imposed by the federal government and then turn around and impose unfunded mandates on county or municipal governments,” Brown said. “I don’t like unfunded mandates no matter where they come from or where they go to.”