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Substantive debates: Candidates need to be clearer, more comprehensive about their positions

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By The Staff

This editorial originally appeared in The Lebanon Enterprise.

A city official stopped at The Lebanon Enterprise office this week. When staff members joked with her about running for a state office, her reply was no, she wasn't interested.

"That's real politics," she said.

Based on what we've seen so far from the campaigns to fill the vacant District 14 State Senate seat, we're inclined to agree with her. District 14 includes Marion, Mercer, Nelson, Taylor and Washington counties.

Democratic candidate Jodie Haydon and Republican candidate Jimmy Higdon have both engaged in good ol' fashioned politicking of one form or another in the past few weeks.

Higdon may have gotten a jump on Haydon in fundraising and on advertising, but Haydon has more than made up the difference in both areas in the last few weeks.

According to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, Haydon has reported nearly $65,000 in contributions so far. Higdon has reported more than $16,000 in contributions.

Despite running television, radio and newspaper advertising, Haydon's campaign had only reported $634.57 in disbursements as of press time. Higdon's campaign has been advertising as well, but his campaign has reported $8,699.84 in spending to date.

Last week, both candidates appeared in a live televised debate on PLG-TV in Bardstown. The debate was streamed live on www.plgtv.com and rebroadcast Sunday evening, but unfortunately, the file was too large to keep posted on the Web site.

We hope you got to see it, but if not, you'll have more opportunities to learn about the candidates.

Channel 6 in Lebanon will be hosting a forum with the candidates from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, and PLG-TV will host a second debate Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. (That debate will also stream live at www.plgtv.com.)

The Enterprise will also be mailing questionnaires to the candidates this week. We will be reporting on the candidates' answers to those questionnaires in print closer to the election, as well as their complete answers online at www.lebanonenterprise.com and at www.cknj.com.

Based on what we heard last week, we hope to learn more substantial information about both candidates before we go to the polls Dec. 8.

Mr. Haydon, by now, we are well aware that you are for expanded gaming, based on your answers to nearly every question in last week's debate. But also based on your statements, gaming is a short-term solution to the long-term budget issues facing the state. Even supporters of expanded gaming know it's not the answer to every question facing the state. We hope you'll expand your answers to questions in the weeks to come.

Rep. Higdon, we appreciate that you want your constituents to be aware of what is going on in the legislature. At the same time, we also want to know your personal position on issues, not just what you perceive the legislature will do.

Please keep this in mind when you receive your questionnaires and when you take questions at the upcoming forums and debates.