Brooks takes heat for not responding to forum invites

Larsen critical of Assembly incumbent; one event canceled, another will go on
Ozaukee Press staff

Dan Larsen, who is running for the 60th Assembly seat against incumbent Rep. Rob Brooks, R-Saukville, on Tuesday lamented the fact his opponent is not expected to attend two candidate forums planned for the coming weeks.

Both candidates have been invited to appear at two forums, one set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the Landt-Thiel American Legion Hall in Saukville and another sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Ozaukee County.

The League of Women Voters has canceled its forum, Larsen said, while the Legion debate will be held.

“It’s disappointing but it’s not surprising,” Larsen, a Democrat, said. “It fits a larger pattern we’re seeing with our state legislators of not responding.”

Larsen said that’s one reason he’s running for office — to provide voters with a legislator who is available to discuss issues and reflect their views.

“I believe we deserve to be represented by leaders at every level of government who will listen, who are willing to have a civil discussion of ideas and who are willing to make themselves available to you,” he said.

“I think an exchange of ideas is a good thing. How do people know what the differences (between candidates) are if he’s not going to show up for debates?”

Brooks, who did not return calls seeking comment, told a West Bend newspaper that he was not going to participate in the debate, Ted Poull, who organized the Legion forum, said.

He quoted Brooks as saying, “To be honest, I don’t think I have to debate Mr. Larsen. We have virtually nothing in common. So, I think the voters can decide for themselves.”

In recent years, a number of Republican candidates have refused to participate in forums organized by the League of Women Voters, claiming the organization is too partisan.

Mindful of that, Ted Poull said he decided to organize the forum at the Saukville Legion Hall.

“I just decided to do it on my own,” Poull said.

Brooks hasn’t responded to an invitation to the forum, Poull said.

“I was surprised by the lack of a response,” he said, adding he has a backup plan.

They have a list of questions to ask the candidates and will seek others from the audience, and if Brooks isn’t there they will respond by stating what he has done on the issues while in office, Poull said.

“I’m not going to give any opinions,” he said, “It’ll be ‘This is what he did.’”

League of Women Voters President Christy Schwan did not return a call seeking comment.



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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