Pam Dirschka calls out Rene Plasencia over skipping HD 50 forum - Florida Politics

Pam Dirschka calls out Rene Plasencia over skipping HD 50 forum

Democrat Pam Dirschka is calling out her opponent, Republican state Rep. Rene Plasencia, for not committing to a candidates’ forum Monday and charging that he’s been avoiding face-to-face encounters with her.

Plasencia insisted he’s ready, but appropriate forums haven’t happened yet.

“He’s a no-show,” Dirschka said Thursday.

“I want a forum that is inside our district, where people who actually have an opportunity to vote for us can attend,” Plasencia responded.

The Monday forum was set for Cocoa, outside of House District 50. Plasencia said he told organizers he would be willing to participate if the forum were moved to a location inside HD 50.

Hosting the forum is the League of Women Voters, Florida Today, and Eastern Florida State College. It is set for 7 p.m. at Eastern Flordia State College’s Simpkins Center in Cocoa.

HD 50 covers eastern Orange County and northwest Brevard County, including Titusville. Cocoa is about six or seven miles outside the district boundaries, and up to 25 miles away from the farthest corners of HD 50.

Dirschka said Plasencia has been absent from other forums, and she cited two events that took place before the Aug. 28 primary, in which Plasencia was battling with a Republican challenger.

“The [League of Women Voters] debate was originally scheduled for September 12, but incumbent Republican State Representative Rene Plasencia declined to participate, as he has for all three scheduled forums,” her campaign charged in a news release issued Thursday. “Dirschka thinks the public deserves the opportunity to understand candidates’ positions on issues.”

However, Plasencia said he is aware of only one other event to which both candidates had been invited, at a mall in Titusville, and he said that he attended that one.

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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