Incumbent Sen. Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster County, has turned down his Democratic challenger's request for a series of six town-hall meetings to air their different proposals for the 13th Senate District.
Tom O'Brien, a 58-year-old Manheim Township resident who works as a buyer for the Rite-Aid Corp., sent Smucker a letter requesting two meetings each month in August, September and October.
O'Brien said he was inviting the voters to "take a good look at me and at Senator Smucker.
"Voters deserve to know, before they make their decision in November, what incumbents and their challengers plan to do in the next legislative session to make things better," O'Brien said. "They deserve the chance to ask hard questions and see how the candidates will address the issues that are important to them, especially in these critical times."
Smucker's response: In a letter Smucker forwarded when asked for comment about the debates, Smucker thanked O'Brien for the invitation but declined, saying he's too busy.
"You may not be aware, but throughout my first term I have been conducting town hall meetings with my constituents and actually have one scheduled for (Aug. 7) in West Lampeter Township," Smucker wrote.
"My Senate schedule and own town hall meet-
ings allow me to have a great deal of contact with my constituents. Additionally, I am certain various community organizations will hold campaign forums where the voters will get to compare our records and ideas. For these reasons, I decline your request."
O'Brien said he's disappointed, and that a face-to-face debate would guarantee a forum where candidates could show voters their differences.
The 13th Senate District includes a sliver of York County from Lower Chanceford Township to Springettsbury Township.
Under a proposed redistricting map, the district would be moved entirely into Lancaster County. But those new boundaries would not go into effect until after the 2014 election.
-- Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffma email@example.com.