UDATE 8-8-12 Independent candidate Tisha Casida released the following statement last night on the decision by Adams State University’s Veterans Group not to include her in tonight’s debate featuring candidates for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District:
I am surprised by the actions of the Adams State University Veterans Club to invite Sal Pace (D) and Scott Tipton (R) to the debate at Adams State University (ASU) and ignore my candidacy for Colorado’s third congressional district as an independent.
I am a former military spouse and was a part of being a significant other to a man who was enlisted before the attacks of 9/11 and went to war shortly thereafter. I can speak to some of the human repercussions of war, as well as the blatant need for care for our soldiers after they come back from war. Of all of the people who are on the federal payroll, it is our troops that deserve to be protected – before, during, and after being a part of war.
Cory Diss President of the ASU Vets Club said that I was not invited because, “It would be unfair to invite a candidate who is currently not on the ballot,” “and would open the door for other write-in candidates to ask the same question” (Salzman, J. “Independent Candidate Snubbed From Debate”, Huffington Post. August 1, 2012).
I am not a write-in candidate. I am in the middle of being approved to be on the ballot in November, and I will not find out until the end of the month. No other unaffiliated candidate is going through this process as we speak. It is unfair to automatically disqualify me, and not invite me to participate in part of the conversation. Since my candidacy represents over 90,000 registered independent voters (98,924 (D)/126,141(R)), it would be nice to be acknowledged as going through the process to give voters a choice in November. It would also be appreciated to be a part of a very important conversation about our foreign policy, our national defense and security, and our enlisted service-members and veterans.
Here is a group of students who represent veterans who have sworn an oath to protect and defend The Constitution of the United States of America, and my platform (in print and online for everyone to read in detail) is dedicated to the Constitutionality of the issues and problems being discussed. By limiting and narrowing their focus to just the Republican and the Democrat – this silences many people who would like to have representation in not only Washington, D.C., but right here in our own third congressional district.
I represent a group of people who are dissatisfied with what both political parties are doing about these important issues; and being a woman who has had a husband in war is an entirely different perspective than what either Pace or Tipton will ever be able to speak to.
UPDATE: Cory Diss, the President of the Adams State Veterans Group, which is the organization sponsoring the Pace-Tiption debate, explains why Casida was excluded:
I would like to start off by telling you a little bit about our group. We are a group of student veterans who formed a recognized ASU student club, the Adams State Veterans Group about a year ago. Since becoming a club we have been working with our representatives, the community, and the college to help veterans with some of the major issues that veterans face in our rural community. As a new club our membership, resources, and public awareness of our group are very limited, however, we continue to bring results to help better serve all veterans. This debate was organize completely by our group and the committee that headed up this venture was Matthew Martinez and myself. The idea to do a debate came about through the work that the group has been doing with our representatives. With the upcoming election we decided to try an organize a series of debates with our congressional candidates, and local state reps candidates to help veterans, students, and our community become more educated about the issues that our nation is facing. It was the decision of our group to only include the two major party candidates for our debates. We made this decision for several different reasons. The first and foremost reason was the difficulties our group would have accommodating every candidate that decided to run with our limited resources. Moreover, we had to consider the amount of time we had in the debate to get a fair amount of questions and answers in, with more than the two candidates it would cut down the amount of questions being ask significantly. We also had to take into account ASU’s policy for inviting political figures in, this policy requires we invite both major parties of those running for offices. By limiting our venue to only the two main party candidates we address all of these issues. Lastly, it would be unfair to invite a candidate who is currently not on the ballot and would open the door for other write in candidates to ask the same question. At the end of the day this will be the first congressional debate that has taken place in the San Luis Valley and it will be held by a our group which is a non-partisan group. We have a very hardworking dedicated group of veterans and students involved with the Adams State Veterans Group and we hope that this debate will be beneficial for our club and the community and would hate to see it get tarnished by a decision that was made to try and make this a fair and worthy event.
Independent congressional candidate Tisha Casida has yet to be invited to a debate at Adams State University featuring Democrat Sal Pace and Republican Scott Tipton.
The debate, which will be the first in the race for the 3rd congressional district, will take place Aug. 8, according to a tweet today by Durango Herald reporter Joe Hanel, which did not indicate if Casida was included. Hence this blog post.
The event is being organized by the Adams State University Veterans Club, a student group, according to a University spokesperson.
An email to the club was not immediately returned.
“We haven’t heard anything about that,” said Casida when asked if she was invited to the event. “We’ll have our volunteers and supporters call them and see if we can be a part of it.”
Casida has so far not been invited to participate in the two debates that incumbent Scott Tiption has agreed to attend with Pace: one in Grand Junction, sponsored by Club 20, and another in Pueblo, sponsored by the Pueblo Chieftain.
Tipton told The Denver Post that he will participate in other debates, time permitting.
Pace and Casida have both agreed to debates at Fort Lewis College Oct. 11 and in Aspen in the fall (no date has been set), according to Casida.
“The latest we heard is that Tipton has not confirmed his presence at either of those,” Casida told me.
Casida turned in signatures to qualify for the ballot a couple weeks ago, and she said she’s confident she’ll meet the ballot qualifications by the Aug. 13 deadline.
“We’re pounding the pavement and meeting with groups,” Casida told me, adding that 2004 Libertarian Presidential candidate Michael Badnarik will be coming to Colorado to help her campaign during the final 100 days.
But nothing she does will convince “some people in the Republican Party” that she’s a legitimate candidate.
“No matter what you do, [Republican State Chair Ryan Call] is going to continue to dismiss us,” she said. “But the majority of people we reach, we win over, because we are honest and transparent. We have a lot of hungry people who want what we offer.”
“We’d love to be included in the debate,” said Casida. “But if they decide not to, it’s a free country.”