MPHS students prep for Commissioner debate
October 14, 2016
Election Day is right around the corner in the U.S. and for voters in Grand County that means deciding on a number of political races, from County Commissioner to the Presidency.
In anticipation of the upcoming election Middle Park High School (MPHS) will host a political debate next Wednesday on Oct. 19. The debate will feature two candidates running to become County Commissioners for Grand County, Andy Miller and Richard Cimino. Also attending the debate is Emily Tracy, the Democratic candidate for Colorado Senate District 8, and Randy Baumgardner, Republican incumbent for Senate District 8.
The debate will have opening and closing statements from the candidates along with a number of questions that will be asked by students from MPHS. The students asking the questions will be pulled from those currently enrolled in Jack Dugwyler's senior government class.
On Wednesday Oct. 12 Lance Maggart, reporter for the Sky-Hi News, attended Mr. Dugwyler's senior government class to assist the students in developing questions for the candidates. After briefly laying out some of the basic elements essential to the development of good questions Dugwyler and the class began reviewing the different topics they would highlight with their questions.
Dugwyler and his students reviewed a number of potential topics for the debate including water issues, development, tourism, marijuana and the entire range of topics listed within the 2016 Colorado Blue Book.
During classroom discussions the students worked to develop their own potential questions for the debate. While debate organizers do not expect any politicians running for State office to attend Dugwyler instructed his students to develop questions for those candidates nonetheless.
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Current Grand County Commissioner Merrit Linke is also up for reelection this year. Linke defeated Republican challenger Tom Weydert earlier this year during the June 28 Republican Primary. Since Linke has no Democratic challenger within his District his reelection as County Commissioner is guaranteed but will not be official until Election Day. Linke does not plan to attend the debate next week.
Colorado State Representative KC Becker who represents the thirteenth House District for Colorado, which includes Grand County, may also be present to field questions Wednesday night. Representatives from Becker's office told officials from MPHS State Rep. Becker may attend the debate, but could not confirm.
Next Wednesday will not be the first time Cimino and Miller have met for a debate. Earlier this year in the late spring and early summer the Grand County Republican and Democratic parties came together for a series of debates called, "Grand Bipartisan Debates 2016".
The Grand Bipartisan Debates featured five separate debates and kicked off in May before wrapping up in June. The debates were previously held throughout the County from Winter Park to Kremmling and included six different candidates.
Since then the field has been narrowed down to two with only Miller and Cimino vying for a contested seat. The debate begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday Oct. 19 at Middle Park High School.
Grand County Democratic Party Chair Sandy Doudna pointed out the time of the Grand County debate conflicts with the scheduled broadcast time for the third Presidential Debate but Doudna added, "please set your TV to record the 'other debate' and come join the seniors of Mr. Dugwyler's AP class."
This story has been updated to include the fact that Emily Tracy, the Democratic candidate for Colorado Senate District 8, and Randy Baumgardner, the Republican incumbent for Colorado Senate District 8, will be attending the debate.