It was disappointing to read that Rep. Mazie Hirono has decided not to debate former Gov. Linda Lingle on the Neighbor Islands before the November election for U.S. Senate.
A story in yesterday's Maui News said that Hirono has decided that four televised debates will reach a statewide audience. That apparently should suffice.
We have always enjoyed seeing candidates, head to head, in person. Explaining why she had declined to participate in a debate sponsored by the Maui Chamber of Commerce, Hirono said that members of the board of the chamber had donated money to her opponent in the past so she did not believe she had a chance to gain the group's endorsement.
The debate was to be open to the public, so that should have been the audience Hirono wanted to reach - not the chamber board.
When we served on the chamber board, it sponsored a well-attended debate between then gubernatorial candidates Neil Abercrombie and Mufi Hannemann. The moderator was former Maui News City Editor Edwin Tanji - and it would have been hard to find a fairer, more objective person for the job.
We hope that Hirono will change her mind and agree to debate Lingle not just here on Maui, but on the other Neighbor Islands as well. It is an important election and the voters deserve to see their debating styles in person.
After all, the winner of this election will be representing us in the United States Senate and arguing for Hawaii's interests in a Capitol full of skilled debaters. The voters - even Neighbor Islanders - deserve to see the competitors in action.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.