If you’re hoping to hear Rep. Ed Towns discuss the issues affecting your community this primary season, keep hoping.
The 27-year incumbent has refused to take part in a debate with challenger Kevin Powell sponsored by this paper.
For close to two weeks, Towns (D–Fort Greene) didn’t respond to our repeated invitations to come to our Downtown offices to speak directly to his constituents and outline his current congressional platform, even after we offered his camp a choice of 12 timeslots over four dates.
When we finally demanded to know if he was going to attend, campaign spokesman Hank Sheinkopf said Towns wasn’t.
This is the second time Towns has turned down a debate with us. He also shot down our request for one in 2008. Powell, who has been trying to unseat Towns since 2006, and received 33 percent of the vote against the incumbent in 2008, did come to our offices for an interview with our editorial staff.
He was willing to return this year, even with all of the skeletons in his closet: Besides owing more than $600,000 in taxes — despite a yearly salary that puts him in the top 97 percent of American households — the MTV reality-TV star turned author and public speaker freely admits he has a history of violence toward women.
But it doesn’t look like any of this will be aired in a public forum with Towns — no debates between the two men have been scheduled.
Powell claimed his supporters have contacted Towns’s office repeatedly, asking for a debate, but were cursed at and hung up on.
“We believe in democracy here in Brooklyn and we believe a healthy aspect of democracy is public debate,” Powell said. “I want to discuss how we can make Brooklyn better for all of us. I also want to hear Congressman Towns and his plans, because that’s how democracy works. You listen to one another, you work together, you find a way to make Brooklyn better.”
Towns’s campaign had not responded to Powell’s debate allegation by late Sunday.
Primary Day is Sept. 14.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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