To the editor:
The recent second snubbing and exclusion of a Democrat at a congressional debate forum sponsored by a (supposedly) non-partisan chamber of commerce - this one in North Fort Myers - was a sham. Although the chamber and the local newspaper advertised the event to include all candidates, and the church in which the event was held claimed it was a non-partisan event on their Web site, only Republican candidates were invited to take the stage.
Republicans comprise only about 44 percent of Lee County now. Republicans are getting more and more desperate to hold on to the control they have and are actively excluding Democrats from community forums that the chamber advertised as open to all candidates. They are trying, fairly successfully, to marginalize Democrats and give voters the impression that Democrats are a tiny minority. Here are the facts:
- Lee County registered voters: 375,723
- Republicans: 166,624, or 44 percent
- Democrats: 110,748 or 29 percent
- Other: 98,351, or 26 percent
Many people are registered as Republican only to vote in primaries, when they really lean Democrat or Independent. Barack Obama got over 44 percent of the vote in Lee County in 2008. A local Democrat who speaks to local issues and people's needs could win this congressional district, which may be why they are trying to silence, hide and marginalize combat veteran, well-studied and prepared smart guy, Democrat Jim Roach.
Let the voters know there is a great candidate running for Congress. He is smart, mature, well educated and prepared to represent the interests of this district. He lives in Cape Coral with his wife, Theresa, who was a kindergarten teacher on Pine Island for more than two decades. He ran against Connie Mack in the 2010 election and made a fair showing against a very well funded incumbent. Roach could win this open seat.
Let the voters hear all the candidates. Stop the game playing and bullying. What are you afraid of?
Fort Myers Beach