While speaking in Lewiston Thursday, syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. was asked how, during political debates, the masses could be better informed on complex issues.

Pitts said he wasn’t sure, because the media and campaign managers have embraced a “simplistic, bumper-sticker response” to many complex questions.

“People don’t think,” Pitts said. “We seem to have lost our tolerance, our ability for plumbing the depths of complex questions. We need to inculcate that in our children.”

One problem with campaigns is too often they involve people yelling at each other. “It may be entertaining, but it does not solve anything. It does not lead to answers. It just leads to yelling,” Pitts said.

He predicted little would change until people show a tolerance for complex answers.

Buzzing Kerry

Ellen Golden of Coastal Enterprises Inc. in Wiscasset was one of six women to ask presidential candidate John Kerry questions during a national conference call with 2,000 women entrepreneurs.

Golden was second to ask her question: What are Kerry’s plans for funding women’s business centers? The Small Business Administration program lost funding in December and January. Golden doesn’t want that to happen again.

Kerry promised to push for continuous funding of the women’s business centers, according to a publicist.

The Presidential Conference Call Series was organized by Women Impacting Public Policy, which plans to arrange a conference call with a President George W. Bush surrogate. A nationwide bipartisan survey of women business owners conducted by WIPP found a 90 percent voting rate among businesswomen.

Golnik joins team

Brian Hamel, the Republican candidate for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, has hired a campaign manager. Benjamin Golnik served as executive director of the Vermont Republican Party over the past year. He has also served as a legislative staffer for Sen. Michael Crapo, R-Idaho, working on issues such as foreign affairs, veterans and energy.

Heidrich helps

The Bush-Cheney campaign has named Republican state Rep. Ted Heidrich of Oxford to its National Veterans Leadership Team.

Heidrich, a former U.S. Marine, is serving his third term in the state Legislature. The vets team is expected to help build a nationwide network of grassroots support for the president. It also will “help communicate his commitment to veterans and his record of achievement on veterans’ issues.” Heidrich fought in the Korean War from 1951 to 1953.

— By staff writers Bonnie Washuk and Christopher Williams

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