To the editor:

Being an elected official should mean you're willing to hear competing interests, ideas, concerns and problems that the people you are elected to represent are experiencing. It also means that every few years you have to come before the electorate and be judged on how well you have executed that mission.

Most elected officials accept that context and stand on their record before an election in various ways. One very important way that voters get to know the candidates in a race are forums. These are opportunities to ask questions of candidates and hear their answers unfiltered through the media teams that produce the mail pieces that arrive at your homes daily.

As such, I find it hard to understand why 25th District Rep. Curtis Tarver has reportedly told the League of Women Voters he will participate in a forum after the June 28 primary election. Two other entities have reached out to Rep. Tarver’s campaign and have either been slow-walked or outright ignored in their requests for scheduling. Anecdotally, you will probably hear other similar experiences of crickets when his office is asked about issues people care about, especially lifting the ban on rent control.

The Hyde Park/South Shore/South Chicago neighborhoods have a history of engagement and dialog from their elected officials. Rep. Tarver seems to be bucking that trend. If he has no interest in the role of listening to what constituents have to say, why did he even run for this job in the first place?

This is a contested race with South Shore accountant Josef Michael Carr on the ballot and the interests of voters are best served by hearing from both candidates, side-by-side. We are smart and can make our own decisions. It begs the question what is Tarver hiding from?

We already see plenty of mail from the Tarver campaign with “Paid for by Democrats for the Illinois House.” But mail is a one-way form of communication. The election is just weeks away, and the voters in the 25th District deserve at least one opportunity to hear directly from the candidates that will represent our interests in Springfield.

Tarver’s refusal to stand before voters and defend his record speaks louder than the sound of all his mail being dumped in the recycling bin.

Adrienne Irmer

Editor's note: Adrienne Irmer ran against Rep. Tarver in the Democratic primary for Illinois House of Representatives District 25 in 2018.

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