Vail Daily letter: All candidates deserve coverage
Don Rogers’ comments Friday were interesting regarding the debate advertisement. It seems terribly unfair that all candidates should not have been invited to participate in the debates (all debates) and, if not, then a government entity that is largely controlled by Republicans and Democrats should not be acting in such a partisan manner to promote the continued succession of control by the same parties on a publicly funded website.
That said, perhaps some discussion from the Daily explaining the Vail Daily’s policy of giving Libertarian and other independent candidates minimal if any coverage in the Daily might be a good topic to explain to the community as well and would be welcomed by many.
The Daily did give Lee Mulcahy, the Libertarian Candidate for Senate District 5, some coverage on hosting his cannabis fine dining exploration at the Sonnenalp a few weeks ago, but other than that has not interviewed him (and, I am told, ignored his offers to sit for an interview) unlike the Republican and Democratic hopefuls for District 5. In fairness to the Daily, there thus far have been four debates for Senate District 5 and Lee Mulcahy has not been invited to any of them, so one cannot just point the finger at the Daily for neglecting its duty to take the opportunity to enlighten voters about all their options.
And for those who wondered how the fine dining exploration event came out, he had about 30 people show up at the Sonnenalp and the food (which for the record, was not supplied by the hotel), was quite good and the flavors infused into the food were quite unique. I’m a serious foodie, and in addition to wanting to say hello to Lee and hear what he had to say, I wanted to see how a newly legal ingredient might enhance the taste of sushi or BBQ pork. Those who like good food, even if they want nothing to do with cannabis, missed an interesting dining experience. And getting buzzed was not really part of the experience unless one over-indulged. Most of the people leaving that event were far more sober than some political events I’ve attended where alcohol was the center of the evening’s refreshments.
I’ve known Lee casually for many years and he has an interesting platform and viewpoints that I think, if known, would appeal to a lot of people in the county (and if they would admit it, appeal to many who think of themselves as conservatives and who might, out of inborn bias, revile the word Libertarian). He wants to shrink government’s involvement, improve education and rebuild the middle class. He has a genuine bond and appreciation for the mountains and cares about many issues of concern to mountain communities.
Lee was also an Eagle Scout, has a Ph.D., and has studied at the Sorbonne and volunteered his time building water wells in Africa. He tried to bring about reforms to improve wages for ski instructors at Aspen and got fired for it, in spite of being one of the resort’s most sought-after and highly rated instructors for many years. He’s also quite talented as an artist and his works have exhibited all over the world. To pose his viewpoints and background unnewsworthy is puzzling at best.
Granted he lacks experience of holding elected office, but given that most of the sitting members of the Colorado Senate have held elected office in their past is a resume item that has hardly given the people of Colorado a stellar performance record in the Senate, and should not be something heavily considered in a candidate’s qualifications. Perhaps no experience in holding elected office is exactly what the state Senate needs in its new members.
But beyond the point of who might be the best candidate, I think the voters have a right to expect the Daily, and Eagle County and other “public interest” groups such as Club 20 hosting debates, to treat candidates impartially and offer up all possibilities and the voters should be trusted to make their own best choices.
Imagine the howls of protest from the newsrooms across the nation if the government told reporters they could only interview the incumbents’ favored candidates for the upcoming elections. The Daily should celebrate the fact it is free to interview all candidates for office and make a legitimate effort to do so. In many parts of our world newspaper reporters would be persecuted and newsrooms firebombed for doing just that. A free press holds those in office accountable, and helps voters make informed choices. That’s what freedom of the press, democracy (and voting for the best qualified, not the best publicized, candidate) is all about.
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