UC Davis will host gubernatorial candidates Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman for the first of three televised debates on Sept. 28.
The live one-hour debate will be held at the Mondavi Center at 6 p.m. and is sponsored by UC Davis, Capital Public Radio, KCRA-TV Sacramento and The Sacramento Bee.
All four organizations will contribute to the selection of questions for the debate. They will be chosen based on what is of greatest concern to the citizens of California and the issues that candidates have declared are most important to them, said Jim Stimson, Assistant News Producer at KCRA. Voters have identified jobs and the economy as their two biggest concerns.
The media organizations will also be soliciting information and ideas from the viewers for possible topic-questions during the debate.
“This is an opportunity for voters to get a better idea of who these people are what their ideas are for California,” Stinson said. “It is also an opportunity for candidates to get their message out in a unique way and in a unique setting.”
Stimson adds that this debate has the potential to influence voters to sway one of two ways, either affirming their original decisions towards their choice for candidate or encouraging them to further investigate their ideal choice for governor.
“Candidates will be able to articulate where they stand on certain issues and then voters could say ‘I feel differently about that’ or ‘that speaks to what I believe’. People will get a better understanding of who these people are and how they think they want to vote.”
The selection of UC Davis as a debate venue has campus officials excited and proud.
“[The debate will] engage the entire campus community and [give] voters very real options to choose from in November,” said Jason Murphy, UC Davis director of governmental relations. “UC Davis can be proud of this effort to get more voters involved – no matter how they ultimately choose to vote in this election.”
Pam Dinsmore, Community Affairs Director at The Sacramento Bee, shares Murphy’s enthusiasm.
“Having the three media partners and UC Davis collaborate is so important. Individually, we are strong institutions in the Sacramento region. But joined together, we are definitely in a stronger position.”
Murphy, too, affirms that there are multiple benefits in the choice of UC Davis as the first location of three before the upcoming election.
“The selection of UC Davis as the site of this year’s first gubernatorial debate underscores the extent to which this campus is well regarded within the state. In addition, it also speaks very clearly to the strengths of our co-sponsors, such as KCRA, the Sacramento Bee, Capital Public Radio and others. Overall, I think the respective campaigns trust that this team can pull together a high quality event.”
NOURA KHOURY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.