The Town Hall Debates are the one time during Model Assembly that delegates have the chance to see each candidate from the four statewide positions: Secretary of State, Media Director, Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Last night’s town hall debate was a very good show of the candidates’ platforms and of their personalities, but not always in the most positive way.
The first up to speak was the Media Director candidate. Candidate, not candidates, because there is only one, Kier Zimmerman. She was polished, and confident, and gave solid answers. We feel that Zimmerman has the skills to lead the media program very well next year.
Next up was the Secretary of State candidates, Elise Farnham and Emily Everson. Both are on the Secretary of State’s staff this year, and Everson is Deputy SOS. Both were appointed to the Secretary of State’s staff right out of Leadership Corps, and Everson has also been involved in the legislature. Both knew what they were talking about, and gave solid answers. However, Farnham seemed more confident and comfortable addressing an audience.
The last debates were for the Governor and Lt. Governor candidates. Christopher Leppink-Shands and Abbey Kennedy were up first, and it was very clear how passionate Leppink-Shands is about Youth in Government, and the things he and Kennedy stand for. They want to, ”unite all areas of Youth in Government”. Leppink-Shands said, “We are not Youth in Government. We are Youth in Legislative, and Youth in Courts.” Later in the debate, Leppink-Shands could be seen nodding along agreeably with many of the candidates points. He was polished, passionate, but also supportive. Kennedy matched his composure, and spoke easily on all of her points.
Matthew Ternus and Savannah Klein spoke next. Their excitement and passion for this program, and their candidacy was clear. Both are freshmen, but they made it very clear that even though this is only their second year of Youth in Government, they’re willing to do the work, and make a difference. When the questions started coming, both of them were easygoing and confident, all while tossing out jokes.
Carter Jones and Alex Vijums have shaped their campaign around them being “average” Youth in Government delegates. Jones and Vijums made it clear that they don’t think it is necessary to be a “high up” elected official to run, and be elected as Governor and Lt. Governor. They represent the normal, typical Youth in Government delegate. They were funny, and easy going, but also held themselves in a professional way. The most important thing is that they are relatable and approachable.
Jack Ellis and Carly Fredericks were the next to speak. They seemed very rehearsed, and even stiff. The points they made were good, and they certainly knew what they were talking about, but it was clear it was very much prepared in advance. As the debates moved into question time, something else came to light. Many delegates noticed that as the other candidates spoke and gave their opinions, Ellis could be seen making faces that didn’t portray their candidacy in the most positive way.
Paul Manning and Casey Webber spoke last, and they were witty, and confident. They did well with the questions asked, and were polite for the other candidates. But they seem to be a rather average ticket, and not much of what was said stuck out.
The Town Hall Debates are always a very good time to really see what the candidates are like. How they answer the questions given to them, and even how they present themselves while not speaking gives delegates a better idea of those running’s ideals than a few colorful pins can. When voting today, make sure to take into consideration all that has been said, and heard this weekend, and make an informed, educated decision. In Digital Media’s opinion, after all we have seen and heard, the best most well rounded ticket is Carter Jones and Alex Vijums.