Democratic Florida House nominee Pam Dirschka is calling out her opponent Republican state Rep. Rene Plasencia for not commiting to a candidates’ forum Monday and charging that he’s been avoiding face-to-face encounters with her, while Plasencia insisted he’s ready but that appropriate forums haven’t happened yet.

“He’s a no-show,” Dirschka charged Thursday.

“I want a forum that is inside our district, where poeple who actually have an opportunity to vote for us can attend,” Plasencia said.

The Monday forum is in Cocoa, outside of House District 50. Plasencia said he told organizers he would be willing to participate if the forum were moved to a location inside HD 50.

Monday’s forum is being hosted by the League of Women Voters, Florida Today, and Eastern Florida State College. It is set for 7 p.m. at Eastern Flordia State College’s Simpkins Center in Cocoa.

HD 50 covers eastern Orange County and northwest Brevard County, including Titusville. Cocoa is about six or seven miles outside the district boundaries, and up to 25 miles away from the farthest corners of HD 50.

Dirschka said Plasencia has been absent from other forums, and she cited two events that took place prior to the Aug. 28 primary, in which Plasencia was battling with a Republican challenger.

“The [League of Women Voters] debate was originally scheduled for September 12, but incumbent Republican State Representative Rene Plasencia declined to participate, as he has for all three scheduled forums,” her campaign charged in a news release issued Thursday. “Dirschka thinks the public deserves the opportunity to understand candidates’ positions on issues.”

However, Plasencia said he is aware of only one other event to which both candidates had been invited, at a mall in Titusville, andhe said that he attended that one.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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