N. Ky. Chamber not backing down from inviting Massie but not Adkins to forum

10/08/2012 08:01 PM

The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce invited Republican 4th District Congressional candidate Thomas Massie to speak at their Oct. 26 government forum but not Democratic candidate Bill Adkins. And Northern Kentucky Democrats aren’t happy.

The Chamber of Commerce had invited both candidates to appear at a Chamber-sponsored debate at Northern Kentucky University. Adkins accepted the invitation, while Massie declined.

Monday, Kenton County Democratic Chair Col Owens called the invitation to Massie but not Adkins “a violation of their own tradition.”

“It’s not good for the Chamber to be captured by one party,” Owens said.

The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce released a statement on Monday explaining why Massie was invited to speak at the Government Forum.

“Our members have interacted with Mr. Massie through his numerous appearances at our events and activity on various committees. Now, our members have requested to hear from him formally at Government Forum. With the Northern Kentucky Chamber advocating for critical issues like funding for a new Brent Spence Bridge, avoidance of the looming fiscal cliff, and creating a more practical and positive regulatory environment, we look forward to hearing where Mr. Massie stands on these key priorities. With the current vacancy in the 4th District Congressional seat, the winning candidate will immediately report to Washington DC to vote on legislation that could shape our nation for decades to come.”

When asked why Adkins was excluded from taking part in the Government Forum,
Adam Caswell, vice president of public affairs for the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce said only that he would stand by the statement which was released.

But Caswell said the Northern Kentucky Chamber has not officially endorsed Massie. “We do not to endorse in federal races,” Caswell said.

But Owens said, “it’s unfortunate that the Chamber has pre-judged the election.”

On Sunday night, a statement released by Owens and Campbell County Democratic Chairman Paul Whalen and Boone County Democratic Chairman Mike Howard said,“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.”

The statement also expressed concern that Chamber membership includes many governmental entities including school districts, counties, cities and special governmental districts such as water districts.

“Mr. Adkins and Mr. Massie should appear together or neither should appear,” the statement said.


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