Bob Goodlatte, who pretends to “represent” Virginia’s 6th congressional district, the guy who originally promised that he would emulate his predecessor, Democrat Jim Olin, and only serve five terms, is now running for his 13th term in Congress. This year, Goodlatte’s Democratic opponent is Kai Degner, a member of the city council of Harrisonburg who was that city’s mayor from 2010 to 2012. Degner has been holding meetings around the district so that citizens can learn about his progressive platform and also has been lobbying Goodlatte to hold debates throughout the district so that voters can judge for themselves the differences between the candidates. Goodlatte, political coward that he is, unilaterally announced one – just one – debate in Lynchburg on October 17 at noon at the E.C. Glass Auditorium. (Note that date is a Monday, at noon. That pretty much eliminates working people from the audience, doesn’t it?)
There is a one huge problem with this October 17 debate. Evidently, Goodlatte’s campaign announced that a debate would take place then without confirming it with the Degner campaign. According to the Lynchburg News & Advance, the Goodlatte campaign failed to clear the date with Degner who has a prior obligation on that date. Degner said he received an email from a government teacher at E. C. Glass last Friday at 8 p.m. while at a fundraiser and said he had no time to read and respond before Goodlatte’s announcement was made hours later. No one from the Goodlatte campaign confirmed the time and date with Degner’s campaign before sending out a press release.
This whole thing smacks of a set-up to make Kai Degner look bad and possibly to avoid a debate. I suppose Goodlatte picked Lynchburg and the middle of a work day in hopes that his buddy and fellow Donald Trump supporter, Jerry Falwell, Jr., can pack the place with students from Liberty University. The location is certainly not central to the district, being at the southern-most, eastern-most portion of the gerrymandered 6th district.
In hopes of getting Goodlatte (known in some Democratic circles as “Badlatte”) to agree to 3 to 5 debates throughout the large district, the Degner campaign has given multiple dates to Goodlatte in the past. I’m sure, however, that Goodlatte, the political coward he is, will turn down any further debates, other than the one that may or may not take place in Lynchburg.
All these shenanigans are vintage Goodlatte. Years ago, I stopped attending the “town hall” meetings Goodlatte holds around the district as yet another election nears. Every time, he only calls on selected people in attendance, people he knows will ask questions he wants to answer. I also stopped communicating with his office about specific issues. Whenever I did, I just got a form letter back that didn’t address the issue I was bringing up. The mixup about the debate time and place may be just that, a mixup, but I doubt it. Goodlatte never wants to defend his non-productive time in Congress, nor does he want anyone to question his role in insuring that no meaningful legislation will come out of the House Judiciary Committee as long as he’s its chair.
The time has long passed for voters to get Goodlatte out of Congress and get themselves real representation in the 6th. Kai Degner can bring that representation. Anyone who wishes to contribute to the Kai Degner for Congress campaign can donate at: kaiforcongress.com.