First, please allow me to publicly congratulate my new opponent in the race for State Representative of the 13th District, Mr. John Lawrence.My new opponent and I find ourselves in a very extraordinary circumstance as campaigns for elected office go. The withdrawal of Curtis Mason - the Republican Party's number one nominee - so late in the race, creates a very abbreviated campaign season for my new opponent and me. Voters now have three short months to meet Mr. Lawrence and learn where he stands on the issues and what his vision is for the region. It therefore becomes all the more imperative that voters have the opportunity to compare us as candidates shoulder to shoulder.

Early in the summer, I issued a public invitation to my then opponent Mr. Mason to meet me in a series of town hall meetings so voters could do just that. Regrettably, Mr. Mason declined on the basis that he did not think it represented the interests of his constituents, especially while they were enjoying the summer season. I would like to take this opportunity to notify Mr. Lawrence that my offer still stands. I do hope that my new opponent appreciates the value of this opportunity on behalf of our constituents, especially given the need for a greatly expedited campaign.

While press releases and statements are necessary and mandatory vehicles for candidates to communicate their positions on the critical issues, our constituents deserve the chance to address their concerns with us directly, to compare our views side-by-side in an unformatted, unscripted manner. I therefore ask Mr. Lawrence to join me in four, un-moderated town hall meetings (in addition to any moderated debates that we may be invited to by neighborhood organizations) during the fall campaign season at mutually acceptable dates, times and locales throughout the district. I hold out high hopes that my new opponent and I will see eye-toeye on at least this one issue.

To learn more about me or my 5-point plan for the district, or to join and/or contribute to my campaign, please go to www.tomhoughton.org.

Tom Houghton Candidate for State Representative, 13th District

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