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Democrats Livid, Say NKY Chamber Only Invited GOP Candidate

The chairmen of the Democratic Party county chapters in Boone, Kenton, and Campbell, have issued a joint statement decrying the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce's October 26 Government Forum in which only Republican Congressional candidate Thomas Massie will appear. The Democrats say that Democratic candidate Bill Adkins was not invited. The Chamber had previously scheduled a debate between the two candidates but only Adkins, a Williamstown attorney, accepted. Massie, who served as Lewis County Judge-Executive for a year and a half before resigning to run for Congress, declined to attend the debate with Adkins. Here is the news release in full:

 

In an unprecedented display of partisanship, The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce has invited 4th District Congressional Candidate Republican Tom Massie to speak at the October 26th Government Forum but did not invite Democratic Candidate Bill Adkins. The Chamber of Commerce earlier invited both candidates to appear at a Chamber-sponsored debate at Northern Kentucky University; Bill Adkins promptly accepted the invitation and Tom Massie declined. Chamber staff member Blair Schroeder communicated at the time that the debate would be canceled. Thus the Chamber declined to give Mr. Adkins a forum where he could present his views in an unchallenged manner.
 
The Chamber is currently promoting its monthly government forum program that includes their invited speaker, Tom Massie on October 26th. In the past, the Chamber has sponsored numerous bi-partisan candidate forums that have included opportunities for opposing candidates. The Chamber did so this time as well, extending invitations to both candidates to debate. Mr. Massie refused. And now the Chamber has taken the unprecedented step of inviting the candidate who refused to debate to speak at a forum without challenge.
 
Chairmen representing the three Northern Kentucky Democratic Parties, Paul Whalen-Campbell County, Col Owens-Kenton County and Mike Howard-Boone County have issued the following statement:
 
"By inviting only one Congressional candidate to speak to its membership, after that candidate refused to debate his opponent in a Chamber-sponsored debate, the Chamber has shown a disappointing willingness to abandon its long tradition of non-partisanship in elections. Such abandonment does not serve the community well. If the Chamber is becoming a one-party organization, its reputation and image as an objective voice for Northern Kentucky to the public will be undercut. Members may want to reconsider their participation.”
 
“The NKY Chamber membership includes many governmental entities including school districts, counties, cities and special governmental districts such as water districts. All of these governmental bodies are led by officials for which many are elected in non-partisan elections. Taxpayer funds support many of these Chamber memberships. And many local government officials participate in Chamber activities. To properly serve these members as well as the community at large, the Chamber should continue its tradition of fairness and non-partisanship in elections.”
 
“We call on the Chamber to re-consider its ill-conceived decision to give a platform to one candidate in this open Congressional seat. Mr. Adkins and Mr. Massie should appear together or neither should appear. The Chamber’s reputation for fairness and objectivity is more important to the community than any advantage it might wish to give to one candidate in this election.”