September 25, 2008
Contact: Harold Burbank, 860-693-2687
CANTON, CT - US House 5th District Green Party candidate Attorney Harold H. Burbank, II, Canton, was advised by Central Connecticut State University today that it has canceled its sponsorship of the Connecticut League of Women Voters' October 11, 2008 US House 5th District debate because of the League's September 21, 2008 withdrawal of Burbank's debate invitation, and that of Independent Party candidate Thomas Winn.
Use of CCSU's Torp Theatre, the debate venue, was contingent on the League inviting all 5th District candidates who will appear on the November US House ballot to the debate. Burbank's invitation, dated August 25, 2008 by the League's New Britain chapter, was overruled by the League's Hamden office this week, which claimed he did not meet their fund raising, voter outreach and position paper standards required for debate invitations. CCSU further warned the League that if it did not include all candidates as promised it would consider canceling the debate altogether.
"Kudos to CCSU for supporting real democracy, voter choice, and debate contract law," Burbank said. "I look forward to debating the whole field, which is what the 4800 5th District voters who signed my ballot access petitions want to see. The voters do not care about internal League debate rules that deny their rights to hear what all the candidates think. Voters depend on the League to help them understand who we are and what we stand for. I had thought that was the League's primary mission until they hammered me. On behalf of the voters who put me on the ballot, I am very grateful to CCSU for taking a firm stand for free and equal political speech through open debate. My faith in our state universities as key wellsprings of democracy is reconfirmed."
Burbank was asked by the League to submit new evidence of meeting their rules despite their contract obligation to include all candidates on the ballot, but Burbank is not sure that he will do that for this debate.
"It is clear that the League is contractually obligated to CCSU to include Mr. Winn and me by virtue of our ballot access. I don't see that the League can require us to jump through more hoops. The League has no authority to add new terms to this state contract without losing access to Torp Theatre. As far as I am concerned, all that Mr. Winn and I need to do now is show up," Burbank said.