State Representative Lauren Carson, RI House District 75 – Newport, says that she has learned that her opponent, Mike Smith, has turned down the opportunity to debate her in a proposed debate that was being organized by the Newport County League of Women Voters.

UPDATE: Shortly after publishing of this story, Mike Smith responded with – Mike Smith: I’m Ready and Willing To Debate Representative Carson******/

In an email from the LWV Newport County President, Susan Wells, Carson says she learned that “ as I stated in my letter, if we had not heard from candidates by September 24, we would assume you were not interested in participating in the forum. Therefore the forum will not be held.” Carson says she learned Sunday night that Smith had not met the deadline to respond to the LWV and therefore, the debate would not be held.

Carson says she was disappointed that Smith will not provide an opportunity for voters to hear about his position on the issues facing Newport and the State of Rhode Island. “Voters deserve the opportunity to see all candidates answer questions and be put on record for what they will do as an elected official. I whole heartedly agreed to to participate in a public debate with this extremely credible organization, the League of Women Voters. I was looking forward to a full public discussion on the issues. Mr. Smith is not allowing the Newport voters he might represent know about his record, his qualifications, his experience and his positions on key issues facing Newport and Rhode Island.”

“My opponent likes to engage in one-sided rhetoric but won’t debate issues and that is a disservice to voters. If my opponent will not debate me, then I will take my campaign to Newport voters, one door at a time.” Carson says she has been walking the district since July 1 and has knocked on hundreds of doors throughout the city, in the Point, on the Historic Hill, the Fifth Ward, in all the Newport neighborhoods. “Voters are so glad to see that I am in their neighborhood, talking to them about the issues that matter to them. I will continue that effort right up until Election Day.”

Carson is running for her second term as State Representative from Rhode Island House District 75. In her first campaign for State Representative in 2014, her former opponent, the former State Representative Peter Martin, also refused to debate her.

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