Gubernatorial nominees Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman will meet face-to-face for the first time at the Mondavi Center on Sept. 28 to debate prominent issues facing California before the upcoming election in November.
The election comes at a vital point for the state of California, which faces a budget deficit of close to $20.7 billion. Economic analysts call California a state “looking for answers” to its 12.5 percent unemployment rate, failing public education system, crumbling infrastructure and looming water crisis.
“Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown will be meeting for the very first time to discuss the state’s hopes and challenges,” said Mitchel Benson, assistant vice chancellor of university communications. “It could be a fascinating hour of television.”
UC Davis is conducting online lotteries for students, faculty, staff and members of the public to win tickets the debate. It is limited to one entry per person. The deadline for faculty, staff and the general public to enter was 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 21. Students must enter by Saturday at 11:59 p.m. Students will need to present a valid UC Davis student ID card to pick up their tickets.
The questions for the debate are chosen based on what is of greatest concern to California citizens as well as the issues candidates find most important to them, said Jim Stimson, assistant news producer at KCRA. Some of these topics include unemployment, immigration reform and the housing market.
Both candidates and sponsoring organizations agreed that there will be no restrictions as to potential questions. Also, in order to assure the spontaneity of both questions and topics, sponsoring members and journalists can select or change topics just hours before the event.
Media organizations will also solicit information from the public for possible topic questions during the debate. All viewers are invited and encouraged to submit questions.
The debate is critical to the independent voters of California, said Adela de la Torre, UC Davis labor and health economist. De la Torre specializes on election issues such as immigration, health policy and the Latino vote.
“Brown needs to re-emerge as a known influence who can navigate the current state economic crisis with younger voters – without this recognition, he will fail,” de la Torre said.
Whitman’s attitude toward some highly sensitive issues such as immigration, education and the economy is one of political opportunism, de la Torre said. Whitman could fail to attract Latino voters if she fails to meet Latinos’ needs in a humane way.
NOURA KHOURY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.