This coming week, the University of Mary Washington will hold a debate of the candidates for the First Congressional District. Republican incumbent Rob Wittman, Democrat Norm Mosher and Independent Green Party candidate Gail Parker will meet on Monday, Oct. 6 in Dodd Auditorium to debate a number of pressing issues.
This debate will be an exercise in necessary transparency among our elected officials. Debates, by their nature, encourage conversation and analysis of pressing concerns and are crucial in the democratic process.
We, the editorial board at the Blue & Gray Press, recognize that many students and younger voters only pay attention to the larger presidential elections, thinking that their vote counts more in those races, but we disagree. It is crucial to engage students in the smaller, local elections because this is where change and reform begins.
The individuals who hold local office affect us more directly, as we often underestimate the role we could play in determining the outcome of those elections.
That is why we have paired with two other student organizations, The UMW College Republicans and the UMW Young Democrats in order to host this debate. The first step in exercising democratic rights is to be aware of the issues in order to make an informed and considered decision come Election Day.
The candidates each hold strong stances on issues that our generation is passionate about. Wittman, who has held this seat since 2007, is proactive on environmental issues such as restoring and maintaining the integrity of the Chesapeake Bay.
Mosher, who hopes to take a district that has been held by Republicans since 1977, has expressed strong commitment on equal rights and equal pay for women, as well as fighting for their reproductive rights. In addition, he has also taken a hard stance on and has made proposals to amend the crisis of student debt.
Parker, the third party hopeful, has run for elected office twice before on a campaign to build high-speed railways throughout the state and nationwide, an effort to increase access to public transportation and decrease highway traffic.
We urge the student body and the entire UMW community to take a look at the platforms of all three candidates, as well as attend debate.
See you there.