by Jonathan Weaver
The three candidates for the 41st Senatorial seat in Harrisburg will have a younger audience to answer to before the November 8 General Election.
Incumbent Senator Don White, Democratic challenger Tony Deloretto and Independent candidate Stanley Buggey – all of Indiana County – will be on the West Shamokin Junior-Senior High School stage this Tuesday evening during a student-led debate.
Questions will be written by more than a dozen Gifted Honors American Government students, American Government Teacher Randy Cloak said. This is the first year for the new class.
“(Last year for an Armstrong County Commissioner debate), it was just certain students from different class sections that volunteered to be a part of (the debate), but this year, it’s a project particular to one group,” Cloak said. “The initial invitation letter went out after getting support from our administration mid-to-late September.”
The class of senior high school sophomores may be too young yet to cast their own ballot in a few weeks, but Cloak hopes students bring registered voters to the debate.
“This is a two-fold bonus here: not only do the students have an opportunity to interact with an elected official, as well as those hoping to become an elected official to represent our community, but it’s also a benefit to the community at-large. Some folks might not get the opportunity to interact, hear the candidates, and compare the three candidates to make up their mind before Election Day on who they’re going to support.
“I think it’s important for the students to understand the necessity to interact with candidates and make their own decisions based on what the candidates say – this year, being a presidential election year, the interest I see in the students is greater than normal.”
Some other faculty members have expressed their desire to attend the debate as well.
Gifted Honors American Government students will receive class participation credit for moderating the debate.
In the past, Senator White, State Representative Donna Oberlander and Armstrong County Commissioners have been invited to speak to students.
Tuesday’s debate begins at 7PM. Admission is free; however, donations for the Orphans of the Storm animal shelter in Rayburn Township will be accepted.