Students to question candidates in upcoming debates at SCC

first_imgIn the middle of what many experts consider one of the wildest election seasons in American history, a handful of Southwestern Community College students have an opportunity to become a key part of the process.Eight members of Dr. Bucky Dann’s Social Problems class are researching local and statewide issues while preparing to ask candidates questions in a series of upcoming debates on SCC’s Jackson Campus.The first of these will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29, and will feature candidates for the Jackson County Board of Commissioners: Democratic incumbents Vicki Greene and Mark Jones as well as Republican challengers Ron Mau and Mickey Luker.“I’ve been into some issues in the past, but now I’m able to learn more and get more involved,” said Alma Russ, a student from Whittier. “Local politics are where you can make a real difference. Being part of these debates is a little intimidating, but it’s also quite exciting.”Other debates at SCC this fall will feature candidates in the N.C. Senate race between Sen. Jim Davis (R) and challenger Jane Hipps (D) on Tuesday, Oct. 11, as well as the N.C. House race between Rep. Joe Sam Queen (D) and Mike Clampitt (R) on Tuesday, Oct. 25.The same N.C. House and Senate candidates participated in SCC’s inaugural debates two years ago.All debates will take place at 7 p.m. in the Burrell Building Conference Center.“It’s crazy to think we get to be a part of it this year by having debates here,” said Matthew Travers, a student who currently resides in Sylva. “All of the questions will be asked by my classmates and myself. It’s cool knowing that we’ll have a role, however small it may be, in the election.”In preparation for the debates, The Sylva Herald editor Quintin Ellison visited the class and discussed several of the key issues in local and statewide races.Dr. Dann said class sessions have been devoted to helping students set aside their own opinions on issues so that they can see all points of view and remove any bias from questions that will be asked.“It’s one thing to study about political issues on paper and to talk about them in class,” Dr. Dann said. “When you’re able to actually ask people for office where they stand on significant issues of the day, that takes the learning process to a whole new level. We are grateful all these candidates have agreed to participate, and we know these debates will be meaningful in helping voters make informed decisions when they go to the polls.”last_img

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *