With less than a month to go before the Ohio midterm elections, it’s as important as ever to register to vote, and stay informed. Yet, in Ohio’s seventh district, it’s been difficult to do the latter with the lack of direct communication between congressional candidate Ken Harbaugh (D) and incumbent Bob Gibbs (R), who has held the seat since 2013. So far, there have been no town hall meetings, no debates and no public forums. In today’s political climate, voters need to have access to concrete policy information, and part of that is direct, face-to-face discussion between candidates. To this end, we propose a debate between Gibbs and Harbaugh on Kenyon’s campus.
On April 20, Harbaugh and Patrick Pickus (D), along with Patrick Quinn (R) and Terry Robertson (R), all of whom sought to unseat Gibbs, met at Mount Vernon Nazarene University for a debate. If four candidates across party lines could find the time to meet with their constituents before primaries, why haven’t we seen the candidates meet for the general election?
To be fair, Harbaugh has been vocal about arranging a debate — though the requests have largely been ignored. He went so far as to record himself asking Gibbs for a public debate at a veterans event on Sept. 5, but he was turned away.
We cannot only blame the candidates. It’s up to us as constituents to be as vocal as possible when it comes to organizing public events. As an institution that not only has adequate infrastructure to hold such a debate, but also actively facilitates political discourse through programs like the Center for the Study of American Democracy, Kenyon is the ideal place to hold such an event. Because of this, we implore candidate, incumbent, student and administration alike to push for a meeting.
The staff editorial is written weekly by editors-in-chief Cameron Messinides ’19 and Devon Musgrave-Johnson ’19, managing editor Grant Miner ’19 and executive director Matt Mandel ’19. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, respectively.