Whitehead skips Atlanta debate to talk MCG expansion

June 12, 2007

There's just a week to go before voters decide who will represent them in the state Senate and in Congress.

Today, nine of the ten candidates running for the 10th District Congressional seat were in Atlanta for a debate that was broadcast statewide on Georgia Public Television.

The front-runner, Jim Whitehead, was not there.

His place was marked by an empty podium, and his absence was marked by his opponents.

"Mr. Whitehead, do you believe that it's possible to represent the people of the entire 10th District if you are not even willing to show up for over 57 percent of the forums and debates?" said Republican Bill Greene.

"Just what does Jim Whitehead think is a big deal? Obviously not Iraq, obviously not this debate, obviously not the voters, obviously not you," said Democrat James Marlow.

Tonight's debate was sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club. It was my honor to serve on the media panel asking the questions.

So where was Jim Whitehead? He was in Augusta, at a meeting about the future of a Medical College of Georgia satellite campus planned for the former Naval Supply School in Athens.

After the meeting, Whitehead said, "Today was an opportunity for Augusta area leaders to express those concerns directly to Governor Perdue, and to open up communications between all parties potentially affected by the proposal. There's no reason we can't build our medical school enrollment capacity using both Augusta and Athens if we have everyone on the same team."

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