Hays County residents have another opportunity to watch local political candidates hash it out during a public debate hosted by the San Marcos chapter of the League of Women Voters of Texas. The League of Women Voters Candidates Debate is scheduled for Monday Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. in the San Marcos Activity Center.Raul Salazar, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Texas, said the main idea for the debate is to provide a non-partisan platform on which candidates can debate freely about issues of importance in front of a live and judgmental audience.
The Texas league has organized more than 20 candidate debates state-wide. In Salazar’s opinion all have been very successful
“There’s nothing like a live debate,” he said. “It gives a chance for the members of the community to hear what the candidates have to from their own mouths, in their own words, and then be able to decide for themselves who to vote for. It’s a great way to see how the candidates act under pressure and really to hear how they address any issues thrown at them.”
Mary Borm has been a member of the league for more than 30 years. She currently serves as the Voter Service Chair for the local chapter and plays a large part in organizing the debate as well as organizing the voter’s guides.
With early voting starting Oct.20 and ending Oct. 31 it was the league’s intention to host the debate at the beginning of the week.
“We planned it that way,” Borm said, “This is a great opportunity for people to find out what the issues are, ask questions of candidates, and get as much information as possible before voting.”
Copies of non-partisan local and State Voter Information Guides will be handed out by the league in order to provide voters with as much information as possible about the candidates running for office.
San Marcos LWV Vice President Jeannie Lewis said questions were diligently formulated during an advisory council meeting and a series of confidential meetings in order to ensure that they are as unbiased and non-partisan as possible. The length of time allotted to each debate will mostly depend on the number of candidates taking part. Due to time constraints, the questions will not be too in-depth. If citizens would like pose their own questions to a candidate, they can do so at the end of the debate.
Any candidates who are not participating in the debates are encouraged by the league to meet with the public and bring along campaign literature for those interested.
Kaylene Ray, an attorney-at-law and member of the league, will be the debate moderator.
“She has moderated several previous debates and is very fair and low-key,” Borm said. “She always does a great job.”
Eight main races will be covered at the event, they include: State Representative, District 45; Sherriff; County Commissioner, Pct. 1 and Pct. 2; Justice of the Peace Precinct 1, Place 1; County Tax Assessment Collector; Council Member, Place 4; Mayor. The most contested races will be first to debate.
Borm said even though they have a sizeable room set up it might become standing-room only, as the league is expecting a large turn-out.
“I expect the house will be full,” Borm said. “Usually during the years when there is a presidential election, there tends to be more interest generated from the public.”
The debate is open to the public and will be broadcast by Time Warner Cable’s digital channel 1400. Video of the debate will also be available at newstreamz.com.
The San Marcos Activity Center is located at 501 E. Hopkins Street.
by: Rasmi Hunt
Download the League of Women Voters voting guide here.