'Include all candidates'

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This letter is in regard to the decision to exclude legitimate third party and independent candidates in the Wisconsin Broadcasting Association's Gubernatorial/Senatorial debates on October 5, 2018.

It is noteworthy that the only invites to your debate are running on the platforms of our two major political parties. These invites are without regard to the third party and independent candidates who have taken the necessary steps to secure their right to appear on the ballots in November. It is an arduous process, and a significant commitment and passion for a candidate to gain ballot access in a major race. This includes obtaining a minimum required amount of signatures from constituents within their district or state supporting their inclusion in the choices they have for representation.

For this reason, I feel it is of the upmost importance that you reverse the decision to exclude legitimate third party and independent candidates from your debate.

As an organization of journalism, excluding these candidates is a clear violation of every journalistic code of ethics I have reviewed. The preamble of the Society of Professional Journalists states, "Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair, and thorough."

Exclusion of these candidates also lends credibility to those that accuse the media of allowing the funds of special interests to influence media coverage.

It is in my humble, yet assertive opinion that the finest service you can bestow is the opportunity to provide full information and exposure to all legitimate candidates without bias.

There is not a more appropriate measure to protect the integrity of the media, and subsequently our Republic than through the inclusion of all legitimate candidates in media sponsored debates.

Rick Last

Janesville

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