Two of three mayoral candidates excluded from a March 1 mayoral forum for business leaders because of time constraints are calling for a boycott of the event.
“It makes us look like we’re on a lower tier, that we’re not qualified,” Mitch Christiansen said in a telephone interview this morning.
“Think about that. Why the heck shouldn’t we be on that stage? I mean, we’re just as qualified,” he said. “That’s just absolutely ridiculous.”
Phil McDonald, who was also excluded from participating in the forum, said he was on KVOR on Saturday morning asking for all the mayoral and City Council candidates, as well as the media, to boycott the event.
“I’m proposing another event March 1st inviting ‘everyone’ to attend,” he said Saturday via Facebook.
“Details to follow in the next few days after I speak to all the candidates,” he said.
In addition to Christiansen and McDonald, Kenneth Duncan was also excluded.
“While your campaign undoubtedly contributes to citizen engagement, at this time it appears to us that it has not reached sufficient critical mass to include you on the panel that evening,” Robert Todd, chairman of Middle Market Entrepreneurs, which is organizing the forum, said in a letter to the three candidates.
The candidates who were not invited to sit on stage were offered, among other things, two complimentary tickets to the event, table space and the opportunity to suggest questions to ask the other candidates.
According to an invitation to the event, the forum has multiple sponsors, including the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corporation, Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, Coalition for a Prosperous America, El Pomar Foundation, Operation 6035, Peak Venture Group and The Gazette.