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Local students to participate in mock presidential debate
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Students from the POLS 403 The Presidency course at Fort Hays State University will participate in a mock presidential debate from 6 to 8 p.m. today at the Robbins Center.
“It’s a great opportunity for the students to research the candidates and present their interpretations of what candidates do in the debate arena,” said Dr. Chapman Rackaway, associate professor of political science. “Debates are a common event in politics. Not just at the presidential level -- city and state races have them, too. So in making students practice for debates it makes them develop public policy knowledge and take proactive stances on them.”
“The debate gives you a better perspective on how presidential candidates feel,” said Mike Goodrow, Hays senior and mock Democratic party candidate. “The most challenging part is to predict what my opponents will argue and how to counter these arguments. This project helps with public speaking and researching skills which can be handy in a variety of chosen fields.”
The debate will be broadcast live of KFHS and reporters from the Leader, the Hays Daily News, KFHS and Hays Post will assist in the spin room after the debate. The students will be asked questions by the reporters and will have to answer on the record.
“I’m putting a twist in by having separate students serve as campaign managers and who will participate in a spin room afterwards with Leader, Hays Daily News, KFHS and Hays Post reporters,” said Rackaway. “The job of the spin room managers is to try to influence the narrative about the debate.”
“This is an exciting experience during a presidential election cycle because it will allow me to catch a glimpse of what the candidates are experiencing going into November,” said Marcus Davis, Hays junior and mock Republican party candidate. “I am appreciative of the unique opportunity to obtain a different view of the debate process and anticipate that I will judge the performances of future political debates differently.”
“There is a lot more that goes into the preparation of a debate than people might think,” said Austin Eickhoff, Russell senior and mock moderator. “A lot of research and time has gone into preparing for the event. As the moderator, I have to decide what questions are important and which aren’t, and I also have to be prepared for what answers will be given to each question. I will also have to make sure that the debate goes smoothly and on schedule.”
Local student participating in the debate is Johnathon Lohmann, Great Bend, special student, Independent candidate
“The Hays community can get involved by tweeting debate questions at @DocPolitics, e-mailing them to me at and by coming out to the event -- it’s open to the public,” said Rackaway.