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The Great Debate: VSU Democrats, Republicans gathered on campus to discuss ‘hot’ campaign issues

Photo Courtesy: Jordan Barela/THE SPECTATOR

Written by Miles Brown, Staff Writer

For VSU students and staff interested in debates, this past Tuesday College Democrats and Republicans held an important debate concerning many issues voters want to see discussed and resolved in the United States.

The event called “Mobilizing Georgia: The Great Debate” was held Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. in Bailey Science Center, room 1011.

Some of the topics discussed were instituting the draft to expand the country’s armed forces, how the college community can reduce racial tensions on college campuses, income and wage gaps between the wealthy and poor, and police brutality. The moderators included Joel Pollack, republican; Michelle Miller, republican; Thomas Hochschild, democrat; Paige Dumus, democrat; and the debaters included Jessie Jaime, democrat; Othellious Cato, democrat; Haley Vinson, republican; and Dillon Rountree, republican.

The idea for the debate came up in conversation in late 2015.

“This debate has been a collaboration from the start with the Young Democrats of VSU,” said Connor McCarthy, vice chairman of VSU College Republicans. “It has been in the works for the past few months.”

According to the publicity director, Rountree, he “proposed the idea to Joel Pollack last November and it grew from that.”

Rountree added that the partnership with the Young Democrats was intended from the beginning both “due to its necessity and fact that any legitimate debate would require the endorsement of both.”

Poll sheets were given to audience members when they arrived to the debate. Information included on the page was gender, state age, circle whether VSU student or faculty/staff as well as a blank space to write for “other.” The sheet also asked that audience members circle their political party and what candidate they identify with for the upcoming presidential election.

Conservative republican Rountree and moderate democrat Cato took political jabs against one another’s views and party standings, such as Cato’s remark as to how republicans “can support and work with the same people (Muslims/minorities) they insult every day.” Rountree refuted and set the record straight about Republican nominee Donald Trump’s views on being a direct representation of the Republican Party.

Cato appeared to be very passionate about his views and had a response for each question thrown at him by the moderators and audience members. He was particularly knowledgeable about issues concerning foreign policy, income and wage gaps, and racial relations. Rountree also proved to be one of the most knowledgeable debaters and the most confident. On the other hand, Jaime and Vinson gave a quieter, more reserved performance in the debate.

Overall, the debate lasted around two hours and provided useful information to many who seek to have a voice in the college community and in the country as a whole.

According to College Democrat President Jesse Jaime, both the College Republicans and Democrats wanted to hold the debate to “allow people to hear the perspectives of both sides and come to their own informed opinions, whether than just repeating their parent’s mentality.”

After the debate, an audience Q&A was held, in which the debaters were given 45 seconds to respond.

“My goal for this was to make this a different political debate all around,” Pollack, president of the College Republicans, said.

Both Jaime and Pollack added that the biggest thing was for young people to get out and vote.

“We don’t care who you vote for, just as long as you vote,” Pollack said.

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