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Why are Hill, Van Huss refusing to speak to their constituents?

Johnson City Press • Jul 16, 2014 at 3:47 PM

We have been extremely disappointed with the way the incumbents for the 6th and 7th District seats in the state House of Representatives (Micah Van Huss and Matthew Hill, respectively) have conducted themselves in this Republican Primary. In particular, it’s how the two have chosen to speak to the voters that we find both frustrating and unsatisfactory.

The two Jonesborough legislators have skipped all public debate with their challengers. Van Huss and Hill also have decided to remain silent when it comes to answering written questions about their positions on issues important to the region.

As Press staff writer Gary B. Gray reported in Sunday’s paper, the Press had planned to hold a Community Editorial Board meeting in Jonesborough with all Republican candidates for the 6th and 7th districts. It would have been a chance for the public to quiz the candidates and hear for themselves where they stand on a variety of issues.

We had to back out of that event after the incumbents failed to let us know if they planned to attend. Their challengers (Clayton Stout in the 6th District and Phillip Carriger and Todd Franklin in the 7th District) were quick to accept our invitation.

Hill did contact us by email to let us know he would not be attending after the forum was canceled. Van Huss didn’t even bother to extend us that courtesy.

Next, we emailed a questionnaire to all candidates for the 6th and 7th District seats. Again, the challengers obliged, just as they had a similar request from the Johnson City/Washington County of Chamber of Commerce. The incumbents refused to even acknowledge receipt of the questionnaire.

That’s disappointing because their answers would have allowed their constituents to read for themselves where Van Huss and Hill stand on growth, taxation and gun laws. Instead, the two have decided to communicate with the voters through negative ads, push polls and campaign brochures riddled with half-truths, out-right inaccuracies and blather that insults our intelligence.

That is no way for members of the state General Assembly to speak to their constituents.

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