Can you feel the energy in the air?
I’m referring to the energy that ignites the closer we get to Election Day.
With less than two weeks before the Nov. 8 elections, the buzz has intensified greatly for local and national races. The political pundits are offering their commentary, the most updated local and national polls are being released and politicians are placing ads all over the place. In addition, most candidates for political office are making rounds chomping at the bit to get any media coverage they can in an effort to further expose themselves to voters.
However, there is one local candidate who is not so enthused about receiving media coverage — at least not from the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper.
The Republican candidate for governor has declined to be interviewed for our newspaper’s special political issue that hits newsstands Nov. 3. That’s right; Eric Holcomb refused to sit down one-on-one or even converse with the Recorder over the telephone.
Initially, Holcomb’s campaign staff didn’t offer an explanation at all. Instead, in an email message to our Editor-in-Chief Ebony Chappel, they simply said, “Unfortunately, Eric will not be able to do the interview.”
Such a vague statement after weeks of waiting for a response was not acceptable to our newsroom staff, so Ebony pressed Holcomb’s staff further. After expressing her shock and confusion, Ebony asked Holcomb’s deputy political director/campaign scheduler if there was “any particular reason why the Lt. Gov. has decided not to speak with the Recorder — the state’s premier Black news outlet — prior to the election.” Ebony’s question was especially valid, because Holcomb’s staff has known for months that the Recorder wanted a one-on-one interview with him — and that the most ideal time would be closer to Election Day, because his views and perspectives would be the most current and accurately reflect time-sensitive issues of concern for the community.
After following up with Holcomb’s staff, Ebony was informed that he was not available because of scheduling conflicts.
So, in the weeks and days leading up to Nov. 8, Holcomb could not find as little as 10 minutes to chat with the Recorder.
His lack of effort is extremely telling to our staff, and it should be telling to each of you reading this column.
At 121 years old, the Recorder is a staple in this community. We are also the premier voice of African-Americans. The Recorder has a solid history of representing the views of Blacks and also advocating for the rights and concerns of our people.
The fact that Holcomb and his staff don’t see or understand the importance of being available to the minority community says that there is either a lack of respect or a total disregard for this publication and the tens of thousands of people who read it on a weekly basis.
The Recorder has always aimed to educate our community relative to politics. More than any other minority publication in the region, the Recorder provides detailed info on key races, and we make sure to represent all political parties. Our job is to educate readers about their options so they can make the best, most informed decisions based on their personal beliefs and value systems.
Holcomb has missed a tremendous opportunity to address the Black community and allow this community to hear directly from him. However, if I am honest, I must say that I am not surprised by Holcomb’s actions. While we were planning the unprecedented Recorder/Radio One gubernatorial forum, Holcomb’s team was incredibly dismissive about participating. Only after we continued to push them, only after we worked behind the scenes with Holcomb’s surrogates to stress the importance of his participation, and only after we were clear about our intention to let the community know he wasn’t willing to participate, did Holcomb and his people finally concede and agree to be an active participant in the forum featuring him, Democratic candidate John Gregg and Libertarian Rex Bell.
Getting Holcomb to participate should not have taken so much effort on the Recorder’s part, nor should we have to continuously stress to him or any candidate the importance of communicating directly to the Black community.
If you are a politician with a sincere servant’s heart, you should want to reach out to the masses of people who reflect multiple backgrounds and ethnicities.
Refusing to do so simply underscores your true feelings toward that demographic and their vote.
Shame on Eric Holcomb for snubbing the minority community.