Phoenix, AZ — Last night, in a Congressional District Nine forum moderated by 3TV’s Dennis Welch, event coordinators demonstrated their frustration with Bush appointee and congressional hopeful Vernon Parker. The forum took place at the Disability Empowerment Center in Phoenix. It was sponsored by health and human service organizations such as the Children’s Action Alliance, Luke’s Health Initiatives, Arizona Child Care and the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence. These health service organizations are integral to the hospital and healthcare network in CD9.
Parker has come under recent fire when he mistakenly told the Arizona Republic Editorial Board that John C. Lincoln was the only hospital serving District 9. District 9 has roughly three quarters of a million residents.
Parker has also taken on a firestorm of criticism by media outlets for avoiding and refusing nearly a dozen proposed debates. To date, there have been no public debates between Parker and Sinema.
Event coordinators cited numerous attempts to work with Parker’s campaign to hold a debate between Parker and Sinema on the topics of health services. Demonstrating their frustration with Parker’s dismissiveness, the event organizers placed an empty chair on the stage. The chair remained on the stage as Sinema answered questions from Welch and audience participants.
Sinema’s campaign confirmed her participation in the debate weeks ago, in the days following the August 28th Primary.
“Voting begins tomorrow and Parker’s handlers have yet to allow him to sit and debate Sinema on any of the issues that affect people’s lives here in CD9,” said Rodd McLeod, Sinema’s campaign manager. “Parker’s refusal to answer questions from the people he wants to represent is a cowardly abandonment of an American tradition.”