This is the perfect time of year for two of my favorite things, chili and debates.

Many of the same qualities that make chili enjoyable apply to debates. That was certainly the case for our Congressional District 6 debate that we recorded on Thursday and will broadcast on Friday at 7:00pm on Colorado Public Television Channel 12.

If you want to watch it now, click here.

Joined by CBS4’s Political Specialist Shaun Boyd and political analyst Eric Sondermann, I moderated the debate between Rep. Mike Coffman and Andrew Romanoff.

I thought the candidates did a great job detailing the differences between each other and acquitting themselves after accusations made by the other.

(credit: CPT-12)

(credit: CPT-12)

The spicy elements of the debate came early as the candidates traded barbs over immigration. The spiciness continued when Coffman accused Romanoff of distorting his record on Social Security, but Romanoff defended his claim about Coffman’s record.

The debate stayed relatively civil, but the candidates certainly did not let the opportunity pass to go on the offensive with each other.

Gratefully, the meaty elements of the debate came courtesy of my colleagues asking questions that led to conversations around health care and foreign policy.

(credit: CPT-12)

(credit: CPT-12)

Both candidates talked about details of health care proposals and viewpoints on not only immigration, but cultural assimilation. The deep conversations on these issues provided the kind of depth not readily available anywhere else but debates.

It’s one of the reasons of why debates are so important. While not every debate can deliver, many of them can. The only time when they cannot deliver that is when candidates refuse to debate, like what’s happening in the U.S. Senate race. Mark Udall and Cory Gardner are debating fewer times than the number of years they are seeking to serve.

But I digress.

Finally, a hearty element of the debate included a conversation over the DREAM Act, which would allow children brought to this country illegally to have a path to citizenship based on a college degree or military service.
Romanoff urged Coffman to sign a pledge to support it. Coffman said he did support the DREAM Act, but explained that he has been working on the Republican version in the U.S. House.

The debate also offered a strong conversation about foreign policy involving Russia. While ISIS has taken a considerable amount of attention in debates this fall, many have forgotten the developments in Ukraine. It was nice to see both candidates give their candid views and compare them to the President’s foreign policy decisions.

I urge you to check out the debate, even if you do not live in the sixth Congressional District. Candidates should be held to high expectations on the campaign trail, and it begins with looking for extended answers in debates.

Yes, I am certainly biased on this issue, but it doesn’t mean I am wrong.

If you are tired of voters basing decisions on thirty second ads, as an electorate, we need to demand more debates and situations where candidates can speak for themselves and be judged based on their own words.

It’s a tough assignment and most people seeking elected office won’t volunteer to do it if they don’t feel it’s important.

It’s up to us, the voters, to make sure they know how important it is.

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About The Blogger

– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his blog. Read new entries here usually every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti is also the host and producer of the Emmy award winning Colorado Inside Out on Colorado Public Television.