ATTORNEY GENERAL BROWN PROPOSES STATE’S FIRST BIPARTISAN PRE-PRIMARY GUBERNATORIAL DEBATE
LOS ANGELES – Calling for “immediate action” to fight California’s continuing unemployment problem, Attorney General Jerry Brown today proposed a series of three-way, bipartisan gubernatorial debates to begin within three weeks.
Brown, the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor, sent letters to Republican gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner urging them to agree to three debates around the state – California’s first bipartisan debates prior to a primary election.
“With record unemployment, the budget crisis and challenges to our system of education, California urgently needs specific answers to our problems,” Brown told the state Democratic Convention at the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Brown explained that Democratic and Republican candidates have never debated each other before a primary election, but he said this year “is very different.”
“Our continuing unemployment and growing state budget crisis are threatening our schools, university and the very future of our state,” he said. “We cannot delay debating solutions. The need is immediate, and millions and millions of dollars in an orgy of spending for TV commercials is not a substitute for an honest and open discussion. We need immediate action to get Californians back to work, and these debates will be a good first step.”
Brown, who explained that 1.9 million private-sector jobs were created during his time as governor, said he favors plans to streamline regulations so business activity can be accelerated.
“I also want to see decisions pushed down from Sacramento to the local level, particularly in the area of education. Local school boards, not Sacramento, should be making the key decisions.”
The attorney general and former governor said California’s economic crisis – part of a “national economic meltdown” – can be traced to Wall Street bankers, stock manipulators and “crooked real estate lenders.”
“Hundreds of thousands of Californians who can’t find jobs know who brought this economic calamity down on us, and they want to know which of the three candidates for governor – Democrat or Republican - will best lead us back from the brink and help create jobs,” he said.
Brown said in the letters to Poizner and Whitman that he believes the three-way debates should be held in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, the three greatest population centers in the state.
He said he believes interest in the unique event would be such that each debate would likely be carried live on TV throughout the state and should be held in prime time to ensure as many voters as possible can see the candidates in action.
“I’d like to see real debates with direct interaction between the three candidates, but I think the exact format is less important than having an honest, open dialogue,” he added.
“The voters are sick and tired of slick, phony, pre-packaged 30 and 60-second TV and radio commercials that say nothing of substance and offer only superficial solutions. Let’s instead give voters the facts and tell them how we plan to approach the goal of getting Californians back to work.”