Dana Young’s no-show at debate a source of frustration

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Sheldon Upthegrove (left), Joe Redner and Bob Buesing
Sheldon Upthegrove (left), Joe Redner and Bob Buesing debate at Tiger Bay Club of Tampa. By Seán Kinane / WMNF News (21 Oct. 2016).

Tampa-area Democrats and two independent candidates for a State Senate seat continue to criticize the Republican in the race for being a no-show; Republican state Representative Dana Young skipped a Tiger Bay Club of Tampa debate Friday because of a funeral. But former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink called Young out in a question to the other three candidates saying she had just come from the same funeral.

Here is Sink’s question and the response from independent Sheldon Upthegrove, Democrat Bob Buesing and independent Joe Redner:

ALEX SINK:

“So, I’m incredibly frustrated about the idea that there’s another candidate in this race, who refuses to stand up in front of the people. I just came from Mrs. Ferguson’s funeral, I’m here and I’m, until 2-o’-clock, there’s a reception and I’m going there too.

“I have 7 seconds left.”

“So, this is my question: You all have been out talking to voters in this district. What are you communicating with them? How do you communicate with them that we have another candidate who feels entitled that she doesn’t have to show up and because she has the most money, she thinks she’s going to win?”

SHELDON UPTHEGROVE:

“So, buying an election, right? That’s pretty much what it comes down to, for at least the Republican party, in this one. I find it interesting that this seat pays about what I make as a staff sergeant in the air force. So, for me it’s an even trade. Right?

“But, yet the Republican party is willing to put a million dollars into what is normally considered a $250,000-$300,000 seat? That’s pretty telling.

“We’ve been around the block. I’ve gotten to see these gentlemen quite a few times because– I gotta say, I mean, they’re hard workers. I’m a hard worker. We are out every chance we get. I mean I’ve got a full time job trying to protect the nation, so I don’t get out as often as these two guys, but, when I do, we’re out here talking to people trying to tell them about why we want to help them. All we hear from that camp are crickets and maybe some very, very large mailers that I have to imagine are extremely expensive.”

BOB BUESING

“Dana Young’s record is extreme. I’ve given you some examples and believe me, there’s lots more. She does not want to face an audience, like this, and try to defend a record that is out of sync with our district. So, this is her first strategy, she’s not going to show up. As I said, this is not the first time, this is the sixth time she hasn’t shown up. The second thing she’s gonna do is pretend she didn’t do it: ‘I didn’t really do that stuff.’ Well, she’s caught. The third thing she’s gonna do is attack me personally. Try to hurt my rep– crazy stuff.

“One correction: I think they’re heading toward $3-million dollars in this race.

“So, yes. When I’m talking to voters, I’m explaining this is my side. If you’d like to hear from Dana Young, feel free, but, you’re gonna have trouble finding her.”

JOE REDNER:

“Dana Young. Let’s see, I’ve pulled up something that says “revisionist history with Representative Dana Young.” Dana Young put out ads says she’s against fracking and has been against fracking. Let’s see, in 2016 she voted for a fracking bill, House Bill 191. Fracking companies–about using cancer-causing chemicals: she voted for similar fracking legislation in 2015, House Bill 1205 and House Bill 1213. Oh, in 2013, House Bill 743. In other words, she’s a liar. It’s what she does. It’s what I hear the Republicans doing on almost every ad on TV. It’s what she’s doing to Bob Buesing: 2 ads, nothing but lies and misinformation. It’s what they do. Be careful. It’s what Mosaic does. It’s what they all do.

“They put out commercials telling you they’re taking care of the environment and then getting fined $2-billion dollars for destroying the environment. We can’t listen to them. Dig down deep, find out what’s really going on.”

WMNF left a voice mail at the campaign office of Dana Young but has not gotten a response.

Meanwhile, Buesing is accusing Young of airing false televisions ads:

“The ads are absolutely absurd and have no basis in reality at all. One of them says that Bob Buesing defended a ponzi schemer. Bob Buesing has never met a ponzi schemer. I have never been involved. My law firm has never been involved. It’s completely made up out of whole cloth. The people who write those ads don’t care about the truth.

“What’s interesting is I’ve been alive 63-years, on this planet. They’ve researched the heck out of my background. I have a wonderful, stellar, record in this community. Since they couldn’t find anything real, they’re making it up.”

So, what’s the responsibility then, of whoever bought the ads, like the Republican party or the candidates or the responsibility of the television stations to do something?

“Well, the important responsibility is with Dana Young to be honest and have integrity.

“When public officials, like Dana Young, lack integrity, that’s a basis for not supporting them.

“Integrity is fundamental to being a public servant and if those are ads that she’s approved, that she’s been a party to, that she doesn’t pull down, what that tells you is everything you need to know about Dana Young. This is a lot more about who she is, than who I am, that she’s running those ads. It’s a lot more about how frightened she is of my candidacy, that she’s sending those ads to me, not to anybody else, just running those against me.”

Should there be equal time or should the ads be pulled? What’s the remedy?

“The election laws in Florida are so lax, in so many different ways, that the remedies are few and far between.

“We basically have to rely on the intelligence of the voters. This is an intelligence test. Do the voters look at that and give it any credence at all or do they look at it, like Sue Carlton’s article in the Tampa Bay Times the other day, recognize that this reflects on the integrity of the candidate who sent them out, not the candidate who’s on the receiving end?

“I think the voters of District 18 are pretty worldly, they’re pretty smart and they’re gonna figure this out and it’ll be fine.”

Here’s the full Tiger Bay Club of Tampa debate:

Buesing was endorsed Friday by President Barack Obama

 

Watch part 1 of the Tiger Bay debate:

Watch part 2 of the Tiger Bay debate:

 

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