Dave Helling's intellect and doggedness make him KC's best television reporter. His talent doesn't go unnoticed, and Helling is in demand as a moderator and panel member when organizations sponsor public-affairs events. In August, Helling moderated a "debate" between Democrat incumbent Rep. Dennis Moore and Republican challenger Phill Kline, sponsored by the Merriam Chamber of Commerce. Moore didn't show, claiming a scheduling conflict, but the event went on without him. After Kline's opening stump speech, in which he charged that government was too large, Helling opened the floor to questions by asking Kline which government programs he would eliminate. Kline answered by launching into a speech about tax relief and returning the budget surplus to taxpayers. Helling pressed the point, asking for specifics. Kline returned fire by saying, "Reduction of budget increases is how we shrink government." Helling wasn't satisfied and again asked Kline to be specific. Finally, Kline said he would eliminate the whale hunting program in Alaska used by American Indians. Helling then passed the mic on to other questioners. At the end of the program, Kline, feeling a bit beaten up, thanked Helling for moderating and then quipped, "Wouldn't it be terrible to read a story that you lost a debate in which you were the only one taking part?"