Connecticut's citizens deserve better from our candidates for statewide office. With the primaries over and the contenders set, the public must must demand an end to the attack ads and a return to civilized discourse.

Tell us why you should be elected and how you differ from your opponent. Stop using TV commercials to make accusations, allegations and vaguely implying villainy to scare people into voting for you.

Nothing of substance can be delivered in a 30-second television commercial. Only through debates, being open to the media and offering complete transparency can the voting public get an honest picture of the actual person behind the soundbite.

As the battles between Dan Malloy (D) and Tom Foley (R) for governor and the one between Linda McMahon (R) and Richard Blumenthal (D) for senator get underway the mudslinging must end. Attack ads are an attempt to manipulate the public through shading the truth, suggesting -- but not proving -- impropriety and trying to win votes through creating fear.

If Foley has a question about Malloy's housing contractor then ask him directly and let the press investigate. If Malloy questions Foley's arrest record, then put the question to him where he can respond and not in a manipulative television commercial.

Similarly, if Blumnethal wants to go after McMahon's record running a pro wrestling company or if McMahon wants to question Blumenthal's military record, then do it the right way. If real questions exist as to any candidates qualifications or integrity, then they must be answered.

As a voting public we must stop falling for these attempts to distract us from the real issues and demand answers. We have a right to know more than the candidates give us in a commercial or a soundbite and it's not unreasonable to expect that candidates for statewide office should respond to the needs of the the people they wish to serve.

McMahon and Blumenthal and Foley and Malloy should pledge to debate often with no restrictions. They should also pledge to stop the attack ads and run on their accomplishments, not what their ad people believe to be their opponent's shortcomings.