Leading up to Election Day, SUU’s Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service will continue to sponsor candidate debates to help the campus and southern Utah communities cast an informed vote. Open candidate debates at the state and regional levels will continue this week and next.
On Wednesday, October 24, each of the five congressional hopefuls for Utah’s new Congressional seat will square off in a debate. There, community members, students, staff and faculty will all have the unique opportunity to hear from the candidates themselves and, if so inclined, put them to the test on some of the state’s most pressing issues. This debate marks one of the candidates’ final stops on the campaign trail as November 6 draws near.
The debate will begin at 6 p.m. in the Student Center’s Sterling Church Auditorium, where each candidate will begin with a short opening statement. The debate will then follow a question-and-answer format and conclude with closing statements at approximately 7:15 p.m.
The debate will be broadcast live on Utah Public Radio for those who are unable to attend in person.
All topics, foreign and domestic, are on the table and no issue will be out of bounds. This open format, combined with an intimate setting, affords voters a terrific opportunity to interface directly with the candidates and get answers to the questions they care about most.
“Knowledge is power,” says Eric Kirby, executive director of the Leavitt Center and orchestrator of the debate. “Learning about the issues and the candidates’ stances on those issues enables voters to make informed decisions.”
Speaking specifically of the great opportunity for students within the Wednesday debate, Kirby believes it will not only help them make better voting decisions but also enlighten their understanding of current issues and the importance of their participation in the political process.
“Voting is important. The democratic process requires individual involvement,” Kirby said. “Debates are a great format to learn about the issues and to gauge the demeanor and temperaments of the candidates.”
Wednesday night’s debate will be the first of two hosted by SUU’s Leavitt Center. Next Tuesday, October 30, candidates Geoffrey Chesnut and incumbent Senator Evan Vickers will challenge each other for Utah’s Senate seat in District 28. That debate will also take place in the Sterling Church Auditorium, beginning at 6 p.m.