The Bobby Schilling for Congress campaign is offering Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-East Moline) the opportunity to debate in 14 counties over the course of the 2014 election cycle. Earlier today, Bobby Schilling (R-Colona) accepted an invitation from WQAD and the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus to a televised debate in Moline that will take place in October.
The Schilling campaign sent Congresswoman Bustos an official letter this morning proposing 14 public debates in 14 counties. The full letter can be found here. Under the Schilling campaign's proposal, the media would be invited to broadcast and cover each of the 14 debates, and the general public would be invited to attend.
Bobby Schilling, who served one term previously in the U.S. House of Representatives and is running against Congresswoman Bustos in the Illinois 17th District, said that voters deserve to hear a substantive discussion of the issues.
"Debate is a historic part of the political process, but in recent years it has devolved into a battle of who can deliver the best five second sound byte," Schilling said. "We're looking to have a long-form, substantive discussion of the issues in as many towns as possible, especially in some of the rural communities that are often overlooked and forgotten. Voters in all 14 counties in the Illinois 17th District deserve the opportunity to hear where Congresswoman Bustos and I stand, and these long-form debates are the best way to talk about complicated issues in a meaningful way."
Jon Schweppe, communications director at Bobby Schilling for Congress, said that Bustos, who has held zero town halls during her first term in office, could use the face time with her constituents.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for incumbent Congresswoman Bustos, and we hope she takes us up on it," Schweppe said. "As a Member of Congress, Bobby Schilling made sure to visit every town he could--from Erie to Gulfport. There are plenty of towns where Bustos has never even stepped foot. This will give Bustos the opportunity to have a substantive discussion about the issues. The voters are growing tired of her photo ops and 140 character Facebook posts--they want to hear where she stands and why she refuses to answer simple questions."
The Schilling campaign is currently working on securing times and locations for each debate. A release with that information will follow at a later date.