Congressional candidate E. Brian Rose of Ocean Springs reported today that incumbent Representative Steven Palazzo has failed to respond to a debate challenge ahead of the 2018 Republican Primary.

Rose issued the challenge on June 12th in letters mailed to the Congressman’s Biloxi and Washington addresses.

“There is a genuine thirst for dialogue about the issues. The voters are tired of being shut out and denied the opportunity to attend public discussion,” Rose wrote in a letter to Palazzo. “Debate between candidates is a time honored tradition in American politics. It gives voters a chance to see more than one side and make an informed voting decision.”

In the letters, Rose expressed concern over Palazzo’s refusal to take part in any debate, since being elected. “In 2010, you were happy to honor that tradition by participating in debates before the Republican Primary and General Election. That tradition came to a screeching halt, once you were elected.”

Earlier this year, local media pointed out Rep. Palazzo’s refusal to hold town hall meetings, earning him the nickname “No-Show Palazzo.” ┬áThe Congressman responded in a letter to the Sun Herald editor, in which he blamed his lack of public appearances on Democrats angry about the recent presidential election. Rose responded by pointing out the election was only a few months ago, while Palazzo has not held a live town hall meeting in over five years.

The following is the full text of Rose’s letter to Palazzo:

June 12, 2017

Dear Representative Steven Palazzo:

I have spent the last several months listening to the concerns of voters throughout Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District.
There is a genuine thirst for dialogue about the issues. The voters are tired of being shut out and denied the opportunity to attend a public discussion.

Debate between candidates is a time honored tradition in American politics. It gives the voters a chance to see more than one side and make an informed voting decision.

In 2010, you were happy to honor that tradition by participating in debates before the Republican Primary and General Elections. That tradition came to a screeching halt once you were elected.

The voters of Mississippi’s 4th deserve to get the information they need to make informed decisions. They deserve open dialogue and discussion between the candidates. This is why I am challenging you to a series of five live audience debates over the course of the upcoming Republican Primary season to be held at various locations throughout the District.

I believe our differing views on many topics give an opportunity for the voters to learn from each of us and make the right decision for themselves, their families, and the future of our nation.

Last month, you were asked on WLOX if you would debate this season. You replied with, “I’ll sleep on it.” I trust you’ve had enough time in the sack and are ready to answer the question.

I am requesting a speedy response, so we can begin the task of scheduling dates, times, and locations.

Sincerely yours,
E. Brian Rose
Republican Congressional Candidate, MS-4