Carbondale - Last week, our campaign was notified that 12th District Congressman Mike Bost has refused to take part in a candidates’ debate scheduled to air on WSIU-TV, the Carbondale-based P-B-S affiliate, this fall.

These WSIU debates have become something of a “must-do” for the candidates, with our local broadcasters and their sponsoring partners stepping up to the plate to help voters get to know each of the contenders. Sadly, that will not take place this year; Bost has decided to break with this long-standing tradition.

For the past five months, we have tried to communicate with the Bost campaign seeking to engage in 12 debates, one in each county in the district, but with absolutely no response.

Then, on WSIL-TV’s Sept. 15th news broadcasts, Mr. Bost had the unmitigated gall to say he wants to “encourage open debate.” Really, Mike?!?!

This is just another attempt by Bost to hide from the voters and avoid discussion of the issues and his record. Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised. Bost shows up around here every two years, says “vote for me” and then disappears. Indeed, in our travels around the 12th District, we’ve heard from many people who say they haven’t even seen Mike Bost for years.

And so, we call out Mike Bost as “Chicken Mike” and “No Show Mike” for his obvious fear of an open discussion on the perilous questions before us.

Meanwhile, at this moment in our country’s history, we’re in the midst of four simultaneous crises: 1) the global pandemic and healthcare, 2) the climate crisis and global warming, 3) the economic collapse, and 4) the racial justice crisis that erupted in the wake of the murders of Brionna Taylor, George Floyd and others.

Donald Trump and Mike Bost have failed on all four of these issues.

Mr. Bost clearly is afraid to stand up to Trump, the catastrophically failed President; failed to stand up to Trump even though Trump called our soldiers, veterans and fallen heroes “losers” and “suckers;” even though Trump is afraid to confront Vladimir Putin regarding the Russian bounties on our soldiers in Afghanistan; afraid to stand up for the people of Southern Illinois and the 12th District, instead being a pawn of Big Pharma, Big Banks, Corporate Super-PACs and the Super Rich. I mean, do we really want to re-elect someone who takes money from the big pharmaceutical corporations to be involved in writing healthcare legislation?

Bost has even failed to once challenge the Liar-in-Chief on any of his more than 20 thousand documented lies.

Finally, we take Bost to task because he refuses to engage in dialogue or debate on the great issues before us, refuses to engage in communication so central to a vital or even real democracy to agree to a single debate, thus showing his fear of facing voters, rejecting proposals for a single debate even though our campaign has agreed to 12.

You can bet money Mike Bost will be hiding behind the trappings of his office for the next two months, trying to avoid the voters, while he starts airing those misleading negative television commercials we’ve come to expect from him.

The choice is clear. Donald Trump and Mike Bost have no plans for our future. We do. Visit www.lenziforcongress.com for information on our positions and our solutions to these, and other, problems.

So, what say you “Chicken Mike?” Are you still too afraid to defend your failed policies and your failed record on healthcare, the environment, the economic collapse, and racial discord?

The voters are waiting. Your silence is deafening.

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