A northern Michigan lawmaker says he will not participate in any debates or forums before the election. Larry Inman (R-Traverse City) withdrew from a League of Women Voters forum scheduled for October 8.
In an email, Inman’s campaign manager Ashleigh Ackerman said they’re disappointed they couldn’t make it work out, but the Grand Traverse County representative doesn't have the time in his schedule.
"Our campaign offered to do a written questionnaire, which would be easily available to those that would not be able to attend a forum," she said.
She added there are online resources for voters to find out about Inman's positions and voting record.
"His focus is on the people of the 104th and that's where he's prioritizing his time," says Ackerman.
“I would just ask, what is more important in terms of campaign activities than standing in front of the voters and explaining your position and defending your record and asking for their vote?" says Dan O'Neil, Inman's Democratic challenger. "I don’t know what he could be doing that’s more important than that."
O'Neil says candidates have an obligation to the voters to stand before them and answer their questions. He has invited Inman to reconsider and make room in his schedule for three debates.
"We have fundamental disagreements on a number of very important issues," says O'Neil, "and I think the voters have a right to understand those disagreements and that we have an obligation to explain those disagreements."
O’Neil says they disagree on issues like the environment, healthcare, voter registration and guns in schools.
O’Neil is a Traverse City native. He has worked in Michigan as an attorney for over 30 years and has never run for public office.
Inman is seeking his third and final term in the state house; he has represented the 104th district for the past four years. Before that he was on the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners for around 20 years.