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Franzen Declines Several Senate District 49 Debates

DFL candidate Melisa Franzen said her busy election schedule doesn't allow time for debates beyond the six forums she's already taken part in.

Senate District 49 candidate Melisa Franzen (DFL) has turned down at least five invitations for public debates, according to her Republican opponent.

Keith Downey (R-Edina) says Franzen declined five debates against him within the Senate district during this election season.

In an Oct. 17 letter to Franzen, Downey said he believes the residents of the district are interested in getting to know the candidates better. Downey said an actual debate would allow more "give and take and the chance for rebuttal" than candidate forums, arguing debates offer a "real way to educate voters on the merits of our respective positions."

"Please reconsider your opposition to full debates," he wrote. "In our positions, short term campaign tactics should always be subordinate to what is good for the people of our district."

Downey himself offered to host two debates, as did Edina Patch, the Edina Sun-Current and the Edina Rotary Club. Franzen declined all of those invitations.

A debate between the two candidates before the Rotary Club had actually been booked for Oct. 4, but Edina Rotary Public Relations Director Heather Hansen said it was later canceled because Franzen could no longer participate on that given day.

"The message I received was that Melisa Franzen had changed her mind and decided not to participate in the first Edina Rotary debate," Hansen said. 

In an email exchange with Patch, Frazen said she understands "why people might be confused" about her decision to not take part in the debates. Franzen said she had already committed to participating in six candidate forums throughout the district, which are "sponsored by groups with a strong tradition of holding substantive, informative discussions."

"Since I became a candidate in February of this year, I have received invitations to a tremendous number of public events, issue forums, meet-and-greet events, candidate forums and more," Franzen wrote. "While I would love to attend them all, it simply isn't possible." 

Franzen said she's had countless one-on-one conversations with members of the community at a variety of events and while door-knocking around the district. Through the six public forums Franzen has already participated in—that list is below—she said she's had plenty of chances to discuss a number of important issues. Downey was also present at a number of those forums.

Senate District 49 Forum Dates

  • 9/6/12—Bloomington Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum—Bloomington, MN
  • 9/19/12—Normandale Community College & Minnesota State College Student Association Candidate Forum—Bloomington, MN
  • 9/19/12—I-35W Transportation Solutions Alliance Candiate Forum—Bloomington, MN
  • 10/1/12—Edina League of Women Voters Candidate Forum—Edina, MN
  • 10/8/12—Edina Parent Leadership Association Candidate Forum—Edina, MN
  • 10/9/12—Bloomington League of Women Voters Candidate Forum—Bloomington, MN

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Ryan Gauthier October 19, 2012 at 08:30 PM
That's a good question, Tom. I haven't heard of it before, but I suppose it might be possible for a user to log in and comment, then log out and back in under a different username to post a different comment. I share the sentiment that it would be much better if folks would use their actual names on the site, but that's also a difficult thing to police.
Edinamom2 October 19, 2012 at 08:38 PM
If Tom Laforce you are suggesting I am Angie Berger you are incorrect. There is more than one person who dares to disagree with you. Shocking I know. Funny as soon as you feel threatened you call for the moderator. When the facts are not on your side create a distraction...
Tom LaForce October 19, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Edinamom2, I prefer to interact with people who use their names. Patch started out with that requirement in their terms of use. I see they've since changed it to more of an encouragement. As for you being Angie, that's not what I asked.
Edinamom2 October 19, 2012 at 09:17 PM
There are "binders full of women" who disagree with the Left. And I don't use my name because I don't like to be called a hater and all the other names thrown out at those that dare to disagree. Moments ago Scott Anderson just called anyone who votes "Yes" on the marriage amendment a bigot on another Patch comment thread. This type of bullying is what forces people to remain anonymous. Tom it appears you want to control the comments here. Remember you are not the moderator on this site. Save your bullying for your little Facebook forum.
Tom LaForce October 19, 2012 at 09:23 PM
I see what you mean about being attacked when you use your name.

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