PALMDALE – The Palmdale Chamber of Commerce is holding a special membership luncheon on Thursday where guest speaker, Congressman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, is expected to discuss “issues facing the 25th District, in particular the Antelope Valley area.” (Read more here.)
The event has riled local democrats, who are demanding that Democratic Congressional candidate Lee Rogers be given equal time to address the Chamber’s membership.
“This luncheon smacks of a political infomercial for Congressman McKeon,” Democratic Club of the High Desert President Johnathon Ervin said in a news release. “If both candidates are not invited to speak on sequestration or other bills that impact the local economy, it appears that the Palmdale Chamber is making a de facto endorsement of the Congressman, and that’s not fair.”
“And I have to wonder what extent the Chamber’s new CEO Jeff McElfresh played, as he was McKeon’s former field rep until a few months ago,” Ervin continued. (Read more here.)
In a letter to the Palmdale Chamber of Commerce, Rogers requested speaking time at the luncheon. Rogers wrote:
“The timing of this special event, less than 1 month before the election and during absentee voting, shows favoritism to a particular candidate. Therefore, I request to be given equal time at the event to speak on my plans for the same topics. If that can’t be accommodated, in the effort of fairness, I’d request that the special luncheon be postponed until after the election.” (Read more here.)
In a statement issued Tuesday, Jeff McElfresh said the Palmdale Chamber of Commerce would not allow Rogers to speak at the luncheon Thursday. In explaining the reasons behind this decision, McElfresh wrote:
“The Palmdale Chamber of Commerce has decided to not offer the opportunity for Dr. Lee Rogers to speak at this luncheon, because Dr. Rogers cannot provide a current legislative update as it pertains to representing Palmdale or as it pertains to the House Armed Service Committee since he is not currently the elected official that represents Palmdale and its economic interests. Dr. Rogers is an accomplished podiatrist and author and has helped a countless number of people in his field. As the schedule permits, The Palmdale Chamber of Commerce is and has always been, open to allowing Dr. Rogers the opportunity to educate members in his field of expertise, which at this moment, is medicine. If the time comes that Dr. Rogers is the current elected representative for Palmdale and the surrounding area, the Palmdale Chamber of Commerce will be glad to host an update from him.” (Read more here.)
Thursday’s luncheon is open to the public and will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Larry Chimbole Cultural Center at 38350 Sierra Highway in Palmdale. The cost to attend the luncheon is $20 for members and $25 for non-members. Prices at the door will be $25 for members and $30 for non-members.
To RSVP, visit www.palmdalechamber.org.