Cuomo’s Refusal To Debate Teachout Is Wrong
by Paul Wolf - posted 7:54 am, August 22, 2014
Debates are an important part of the democratic process. From School Board positions on up to the President of the United States, citizens should have the opportunity to see candidates for public office on the same stage responding to questions.
On September 9th there will be a democratic primary election for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Many people are unaware that Zephyer Teachout is running against Andrew Cuomo for Governor and that Tim Wu is running for Lieutenant Governor against Kathy Hochul.
Every election should feature a series of debates throughout the district of the office being sought. If someone is an incumbent elected official they should be proud of their record and able to highlight and defend their accomplishments. Challengers should be able to articulate why they are seeking office and why they would be a better choice.
Debate and discussion of policy issues is essential for democracy. Sadly it appears that there will not be a series of debates for Governor. In fact there probably will not be even one debate where Cuomo and Teachout appear on the same stage. Cuomo is refusing to debate Teachout and Hochul is refusing to debate Wu.
No candidate running for office should be able to avoid participating in debates. A lack of debates is a disservice to the public who has a right to hear their elected representatives explain themselves.
When Mario Cuomo and Ed Koch ran in a primary election for Governor, they debated close to a dozen times, across New York State. In 2002, when Andrew Cuomo ran in a democratic primary for Governor against Carl McCall, there were a series of debates.
When Cuomo was elected Governor he promised that his administration would be the most open and transparent New York had ever seen. In fact the Cuomo administration is probably one of the most secretive, micro managed and controlled administrations New York has ever seen. Cuomo’s refusal to engage in public debates is just another example of his lack of transparency.
Perhaps the news media and the public can demand and embarrass Cuomo to participate in the democratic process of debates.