The people get to decide what questions get asked of the candidates?
And to evaluate the answers for public dissemination?
Several days ago the campaigns of Republican Jim Renacci and Democrat Betty Sutton agreed to participate in a debate sponsored by Jefferson Action on October 6th, 2012 at the Radisson Hotel Akron/Fairlawn sometime in the morning. The exact hour the debate will begin has yet to be set.
Renacci, who is the sitting 16th district congressman, and Sutton, who is the sitting 13th district congresswoman, were thrown into this race against each other because Ohio lost two seats (from 18 down to 16) due to a loss of population in the 2010 census.
As far as the SCPR is concerned, this is a debate to see more than most debates because the questions will be framed by 24 random 16 congressional district constituents (the new district).
According to a press release issued by Jefferson Action (re: Reclaim November, Ohio!) on August 10th:
The forum (Ohio Citizens Election Forum) will gather 24 randomly selected residents for an intensive, seven-day (the six day immediately preceding the debate and, of course, October 6th itself) exercise in learning and discussion focused on economic issues.The subject matter of the unusual and sort of debate will be: weak economic growth, unemployment and the federal budget deficit and debt.
The Report describes the debate as being unusual and sort of because Renacci and Sutton will each appear separately for an hour of questioning by the citizen panel. Panel members will then report back to the public on their impressions:
(in the words of the release) on how well each candidate addressed the issues, and whether they’re campaigning on the issues — or basing their campaigns on attacks and negative soundbites.Space will be made available to both the public and the media. However, the forum will not be available on "live" media.
The Stark County Political Report applauds Jefferson Action for generating the idea of a discussion of economic issues by Renacci and Sutton and also that the questions will come from everyday citizens.
The Jefferson Action group says of itself:
Jefferson Action is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to returning democracy to the people. Our mission is making the informed voice of everyday citizens heard — and making sure elected officials and politicians address the issues. Our Reclaim November, Ohio! project aims at making the voice of the people heard by candidates in Ohio’s hotly contested 16th Congressional District.
Based in St. Paul, Minn., Jefferson Action uses the Citizens Election Forum process to bring together randomly selected citizens to consider important issues. The citizens are educated by experts representing a wide range of viewpoints. The group then recommends a course of action. Jefferson Action lets the public know if the politicians are addressing the important issues – or simply attacking one another.
While there may be other debates between Renacci and Sutton to take in, as far as The Report is concerned, this is one for those Stark Countians who are part of the 16th to see!