Seniors are a large and growing part of the population in the nation and in Hawaii. They are also active participants in politics. We old folks vote.
That's why we think Gov. Neil Abercrombie made a mistake when he decided to cancel his participation with opponent state Sen. David Ige in three of four debates sponsored by AARP Hawaii.
One of the canceled debates was a July 18 appearance in Kahului. That AARP event will go on at the Maui Beach Hotel on Friday without the debate. According to news releases, topics will include discussions of the future of Social Security, long-term-care challenges, and legislative priorities. Register by calling 1-877-926-8300.
Abercrombie will participate in a debate with Ige in Kona on July 29.
The Abercrombie campaign cited "scheduling difficulties" as the reason for the cancellations.
The Maui County Democratic Party website (mauidemocrats.org) had a statement from Barbara Kim Stanton, AARP's state director, that read:
"AARP Hawaii is deeply disappointed that the governor will not be taking part in three of the four debates that his campaign had agreed to. We hope the governor reconsiders his decision and honors his debate commitments. This is a critical election and the issues require thoughtful deliberation. Campaign ads are a poor substitute for giving voters every opportunity to make informed decisions based on side-by-side comparisons."
In earlier news releases, AARP Hawaii noted that it has almost 150,000 members in the state. With those numbers alone in mind, these cancellations are a colossal blunder by the Abercrombie campaign.
We'd join Ms. Stanton in urging the governor to reconsider and participate in these debates.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.