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April 24, 2024

Coles County -Why Candidate forums fail the people

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On October 19, 2018

Illinois (ECWd) –

Yes, it is once again silly season.  Candidate signs, advertising, and debates will be the coverage for most news operations between now and the election in November.

One recent event I attended was reflective as to why this country is in real trouble.  The Charleston Chamber of Commerce hosted a candidate forum where questions to the candidates came from the public at the event.

I submitted a question for Sheriff Candidate Greg Voudrie.  I wish I could say I was surprised my question never got asked, but I actually never believed it would be asked. What was surprising was the Chamber’s claim that everyone’s questions were asked unless it was a duplicate question.  My question was not in any way close to being a duplicate type question and it was never asked.

Paraphrasing my question as I did not keep a copy of the card:

“During the current Sheriffs term in office, have you ever contacted Sheriff Rankin to share your claimed concerns for how things are being done in his office?” 

I already knew the answer to the question because of a prior communication with Candidate Vouldrie where I asked him directly.  I felt it was important for everyone in that room to hear the same answer I did.

The answer?


The reason I asked the question in the first place was to better understand if a person is truly genuine or simply running for another public sector paycheck.  Vouldrie’s campaign info states, “For me, this is about doing right by our community.”

Doing right by your community starts by speaking up when you see things wrong, not staying silent for three years then using those claimed concerns as a reason people should vote for you.  When people say and do nothing to fix problems locally then use an election season as the platform to complain, it tends to point to them being just another politician.

I fault the Chamber for not asking my submitted question because the answer clearly would have signaled what was reality versus politics. I find it most challenging to believe a persons claimed concerns, when they have stayed silent on those matters, and not once addressed them with the person in charge of correcting such alleged problems for no less than three years.

The second portion of this forum had the Candidates for the 110th State Representatives, Chris Mill, and Shirley Bell. For the most part, the questions and answers were typical party line responses, however, there was one exception which cannot be allowed to go unanswered.

A question regarding the candidate’s support for the second amendment was asked.    Both candidates claimed to support our Constitutional rights, however, Bell made a statement that is factually false when compared to the legislative history in Springfield.

Bell referenced a meeting she had with three IDOT retirees in Kansas earlier in the day.  She talked about one of those people raising concerns with Democrats trying to take away their guns.

Bell made it clear there was no legislation to ban guns.   She then deflected the real issue and spoke about the Resolutions on guns that have been getting passed throughout counties statewide. It came across as a slick way to defuse the question.

Bell should apologize!

HB1465 was, in fact, a gun ban bill presented in Springfield, contrary to Shirley Bell’s claim that no such legislation exists. In fact, that bill was not only a gun ban bill but would force certain people to get rid of their personal property, their guns, if they were under age 21.  Thus this bill was, in fact, a confiscation bill by making law-abiding adults, criminals for exercising there once legal right to own a firearm.

That particular bill was submitted in February of 2018 but was not the first time similar gun ban bills have been submitted by Democrat led legislatures in Springfield.  The fact Bell claimed no such legislation exists tells me she has no clue what she is talking about when it comes to the attack on our 2nd Amendment rights by politicians wanting our votes in Springfield.

A person that provides such an answer is clearly a politician as most people who don’t know the answer will tell you they don’t know the answer to the question and then get back to you with accurate answers. Politicians speak to appease the moment then move on to the next talking point even if it means providing totally false information as Bell did during that portion of the forum.

While those in attendance may believe what she said, the reality is her words mislead an entire room of people who will go out and share the same nonsense with their friends.

A candidate forum like the one hosted in Charleston this week does more damage to our Constitutional Republic than you can imagine.

  • Selective questions
  • Screened by unelected people
  • No rebuttals to answers allowed
  • No fact checking of answers provided
  • No follow up to lies told.

It’s a sad day when people can ask for your vote with a straight face while they are allowed to spew misinformation and false statements and doing it with a smile.

I fully understand it is We The People who are ultimately responsible for validating the garbage we hear from politicians and urge everyone to please demand honesty and integrity from those asking for your vote and never vote for those that have violated those basic principals.

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  • John Q. Public
    Posted at 12:50h, 19 October

    Is Mr. Voudrie already receiving a public pension from his service as a Mattoon police officer? Will he receive or reject an added pension or increase in pension benefits if elected sheriff?

  • Kirk Allen
    Posted at 13:03h, 19 October

    Yes, he receives a pension from Mattoon. He insinuated he would not take a pension but danced around how pension payments would still be taken out of his check, which is not supposed to happen if you decline it. I wish I had recorded it as I don’t recall how he worded it but I believe he said he would not take it. Remember Congress Shimkus said he would term limit after two terms and here we are over 20 years later and he is still in Washington!

  • jannie
    Posted at 06:40h, 20 October

    Candidate forums hosted by the League of Women Voters generally on very unbiased & the questions filled out by the public and given to the League. It’s a shame the League of Women Voters seldom does Candidate forums any more.

  • anonymou5user
    Posted at 07:21h, 22 October

    Candidate forums run by Chambers seldom have good results. One infamous example was when a Chamber member ran for office–he had pre-written answers that he simply read off when asked the questions claimed to be ‘from the audience’ collected at the door. That would never, ever happen at a forum run by the League of Women Voters. It takes people willing to pay a membership fee and do some volunteer work to have a League but the results are far better for the voters.