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Bethesda, MD - The ugly national trend in which independent
and third party candidates are excluded from polls, media
coverage, debates and forums continues here in Montgomery
County Maryland in the 8th District Congressional election
D I S C L O S U R E 2 0 0 3
MD 8th District Congressional Campaign of Stephen Bassett

Press Release October 17, 2002

Bethesda, MD - The ugly national trend in which independent
and third party candidates are excluded from polls, media
coverage, debates and forums continues here in Montgomery
County Maryland in the 8th District Congressional election.

Stephen Bassett, the independent candidate in the 8th District,
has been excluded from numerous campaign debates and
forums. These include events sponsored by Common Cause
of Maryland, B'Nai Israel Congregation/B'nai Men's Club, and
the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington/Seniors
Organized for Change. [Note: Spear Lancaster, the Libertarian
Party candidate for governor, who got on the ballot via 35,000
nominating signatures, is also being excluded from nearly all
debates and forums.]

But the most egregious example of this exclusionary practice
is the upcoming debate to be held at Montgomery College, the
largest community college in the state, with all three of its
campuses in the 8th Congressional District.

This candidate debate is being cosponsored by a coalition
of civic associations and the Montgomery College Alumni
Association and is scheduled for Monday, October 21 at
8 pm. The debate coordinator, Thomas Curtis, a member of
the King Farm Civic Association, contacted the Disclosure2003
campaign and stated that, "only parties which received at least
20% of the vote in the last election will be allowed to participate
in this debate." He then added, "Obviously this means only
the Democrat and Republican Party candidates will be present."

Disclosure2003 immediately contacted Steve Simon, Director
of Communications for Montgomery College and the school's
coordinator for the event. Simon was respectful, responsive
and conveyed the candidate's desire to participate to the civic
association coordinator, Curtis, and also spoke with News
Channel 8, which is televising the debate. Curtis refused to
change the candidate criteria, and News Channel 8 was
noncommittal. Bassett would not participate.

A request was then made that Montgomery College cancel
its participation on the grounds it sends the wrong message
to the students, is a slap in the face to the 71,000 voters
registered as independents in the 8th District, an insult to the
5177 registered voters who signed the D2003 nominating
petitions, and not in keeping with the values of one of the
most educated and multicultural communities in the nation.
It was made clear such a cancellation was not possible.

Legal challenges to this national scandal of exclusion have
been rejected in the courts time after time. Only when the
American people become aware of how dangerous this
trend is to the nation, get sufficiently angry, and demand
reform through legislation, will the "Closing of the American
Mind," as the late Allan Bloom put it, be reversed.

Ralph Nader was excluded from the presidential debates.
He wanted to talk about corporate greed, abuse of power
and abrogation of community responsibility. The Democrat
and Republican Party candidates wanted nothing to do with
that issue. Nader was right, but Bush and Gore went
unchallenged. Now taxpayer supported Montgomery College
will continue this kind of exclusionary politics.

_________________________________________________

Transparent government, private citizenry
_________________________________________________

Campaign Headquarters
Bethesda/Gaithersburg
4938 Hampden Lane, #161
Bethesda, MD 20814
Phone: 301-990-4290 Cell: 202-431-2459
Email:  Disclosure2003@aol.com
Website: www.disclosure2003.net

homepage: homepage: http://www.disclosure2003.net
phone: phone: 301-990-4290
address: address: 4938 Hampden Lane, #161 Bethesda, MD 20814