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OUR VIEW: Readers will get a necessary look into Congressional race

THE ISSUE: Ottawa station WCMY to host Kinzinger-Dady debate

OUR VIEW: Forum a good chance to compare candidates

The 10 a.m. hour Monday, May 14, should be an encouraging one for all voters of the 16th Congressional District, especially those in La Salle County.

Both candidates for the seat, U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, and Sara Dady, D-Rockford, will answer questions live on WCMY radio, AM 1430, in a debate format from reporters at the radio station and The Times.

Anyone familiar with our editorial pages over the years knows we have encouraged public forums and debates during election time. We're glad both Congressional candidates are game.

It's too easy with the data that's available for candidates in federal, state and local elections to control their message through political mailings, campaign events and advertising.

Unfortunately those practices speak to targeted political bases and leave the rest of the public behind — with no dialogue.

We've seen it recently with the state representative race between Jerry Long and Andy Skoog. Although they eventually agreed to a debate on WCMY, both of them had ducked out of a few forums leading up to the election.

When that debate finally occurred, it allowed the public to hear how the candidates responded to issues beyond their talking points.

A debate provides those undecided voters in the middle an opportunity to weigh each campaign against someone else's questions.

Candidates are running for the chance to represent our district, and part of that job is public speaking, either on the House floor or in front of television cameras and radio microphones. Part of serving in Congress is arguing a position in an effort to win votes. Debates give all voters the chance to see candidates put those skills — or lack thereof — to the test.

Anyone who can't catch the live broadcast or streaming will be able to listen later at WCMY's website as well as The Times.

We hope this is the beginning of other debates throughout the district leading up to November. In a format such as Monday's, media members will do their best to ask questions that reflect what the public believes are important issues in our country today.

With that said, we'd like to see another forum or debate scheduled in the future that allows voters to ask direct questions of candidates.

While we understand the concerns of those direct interactions — the "gotcha" moments shared on YouTube that go viral — we also believe nothing has replaced a voter being able to ask a candidate about an issue important to them, and have that dialogue.

Until then, we're happy to participate in Monday's forum and do our best to inform voters on the candidates leading up to the election.

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