Hastings mayoral candidate Emilio Llanes was looking forward to getting his platform out during a scheduled forum opposite incumbent Vern Powers on Oct. 29 at Hastings Public Library.
Another engagement kept Powers from attending the forum, however, one of five voter-related forums hosted by the League of Women Voters. Disappointed and feeling underexposed in the final hours before Tuesday’s election, Llanes sent a letter to the Tribune expressing his discontent and asking for one last chance to get his message out to voters.
Powers said he was unable to attend the forum because he was tending to family business. That said, he would have preferred to have had the debate a month or so earlier, when voters could have had more time to digest the information shared by both candidates.
“To have them one week before the election, I’m not really sure what you accomplish,” he said. “If you haven’t made your decision by almost Election Day and are making a decision that close based on a debate like that you probably don’t have any right voting.”
Chastising the mayor for being a no-show, Llanes said his absence demonstrated “a lack of leadership” and responsibility. He asserted Powers has not done enough to grow the community, particularly when compared to advances made by its Tri-City neighbors during his tenure as mayor.