Generally speaking, we would like to hear less about politicians, not more. But this is not necessarily true in an election campaign. It is important that we have the chance to get to know the candidates for public office. Otherwise, how can we make a decision at the ballot box? That’s why it’s unfortunate that there is no debate between the two candidates vying to replace Ron Kind as congressman from Wisconsin’s third district. Brad Pfaff challenged his opponent, Derrick Van Orden, to three debates, one in each of the largest towns in the district: La Crosse, Eau Claire and Stevens Point. So far, no debates have been scheduled, despite the efforts of UW La Crosse and other groups that typically host such debates. Instead of accepting the challenge to debate, Van Orden simply issued a sarcastic statement about Pfaff being a career politician. Political debates can be important in helping to educate the electorate. They are usually broadcast on radio and television throughout the district. Candidates are forced to answer tough questions, often ones they don’t want to have to answer. Their reaction can be indicative of how they would act if elected. Otherwise, all we have left to judge a candidate are their carefully crafted campaign ads, clever message and dim lighting. We need to hear them directly. Without someone choosing their words for them.