Candidates likely won't debate

MATUREN
MATUREN

Maturen invites Potvin to public forum, but he’d rather focus on campaign, job in Lansing

MECOSTA COUNTY — In the weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 general election, State Rep. Phil Potvin has declined to engage challenger Brendan Maturen in a public debate on more than one occasion. Potvin said he would rather spend his time talking with his constituents in the 102nd House District, than engaging the Stanwood attorney in a public forum. “He has invited me to debate, ... but I’d rather be engaged with my constituents,” Potvin said. “Because we are in the public all the time and constantly in the media, I think that is the best way to (let voters where we stand on issues). We don’t have to have a public debate because we already are available to the public.” Elected to the state House in 2010, Potvin, R-Cadillac, is being challenged by Maturen, who won the Democrat nomination during the Aug. 7 primary election. The seat holds a two-year term, representing Mecosta, Osceola and Wexford counties. Maturen has extended an invitation to Potvin to engage in debate at least three times, he said. Each time, he was either turned down or did not receive a response from Potvin or his campaign. “I asked him in person at the Mecosta-Osceola United Way kick off meeting (Sept. 28) and he said no; I gave it a few days and sent him an email asking him to reconsider and I didn’t get any response,” Maturen said. “It would be an opportunity to hear Rep. Potvin say why he has voted for some of the things he’s voted for in Lansing. In order to believe that he will stand up for our interests in Lansing, his constituents need to see that he will stand up and defend his record as the incumbent candidate.” If the first-term state representative decides to change his mind, Maturen said he is willing to work around Potvin’s schedule. “We can do it when and where he wants,” Maturen said. “Frankly, I don’t expect him to join me in a debate.” In an effort to help voters see where the two candidates stand on various issues, the Herald Review posed several questions to them. Their responses will be publishing in next week’s edition. There have been opportunities where both candidates were at the same event and available to speak with voters, such as the United Way kick off meeting, Potvin said. Both candidates also will participate in the pumpkin roll contest in the Big Rapids Downtown Fall Festival on Oct. 27. “There have been opportunities for people to talk to both of us,” Potvin said. “That, in my mind, is a public forum. That’s better than any debate.”