Dr. Willie W. Herenton, former mayor of Memphis, and now a candidate for congress to represent the citizens of Tennessee's 9th Congressional District has decided not to be a part of a debate that was to air on WREG in July due to the bias that he believes that Norm Brewer and the CA's Otis Sanford has for him.
While he may be correct in his opinion of both Brewer and Sanford based on commentaries both have given the former mayor should debate Congressman Steve Cohen..... somewhere. Herenton should not expect to be elected, and the citizens of the 9th Congressional District should not elect him if he is not willing to bring his platform to the stage so that his platform can be compared to that of the current congressman.
No one running for any office should be allowed to receive votes based solely on their name, or what they say is a past record. Every citizen of the district deserve the chance to know what the candidates plan to do for them in the present and the future.
Willie Herenton has the right no matter what one's opinion of him may be to be treated fairly in a debate forum, but he does not have the right to say he will not debate at all. I'm sure that there are other TV stations that would love to hold this very much needed debate of the issues that address the citizens of Memphis.
While the former mayor is totally correct when he states that Tennessee has no Black representation on the federal level, this can not be his total platform. While Blacks should represent their communities, the history of Black leadership in Memphis has not proven that if a Black is in office that Blacks will receive any benefits in reference to service and change.
If all else fails by July I will have returned to the airwaves and will be totally be prepared to hold the debate for just 1 hour but four. I am prepared to ask the tough questions of both candidates without race being the primary focus. I know that Willie Herenton is comfortable with my interviewing style seeing that his last two big announcements have been on my shows. If I was to hold the debate neither Herenton or Cohen would receive fluff questions, But the issues of the community would be addressed.
The Black community can not and must not elect Willie Herenton just because he is Black or that the state of Tennessee has no federal Black representation. He should only be elected because he has a workable platform and can show when his platform is compared to that of Steve Cohen that he is the better candidate and the best person to represent the citizens of the Ninth Congressional District.