By Justin Bailey
The Bush School’s Department of Public Service and Administration will sponsor a televised candidates’ forum this Saturday, January 25th, for the contenders for the District 17 U.S. House of Representatives seat. The forum, organized by KBTX of Bryan and KWTX of Waco, will air from 6:30 PM to 9 PM.
As a sponsor of the event, the Bush School is offering students a range of ways in which they can take part in the forum.
An Active Role in Democracy
Thirteen students will be assigned to help candidates directly as they arrive and prepare for the forum.
“One of the awesome things about being a Bush School student is the opportunity to take part in events like this,” second-year student Faith Dingas said. “I’ve been assigned to one of the candidates, and it’s actually one that I’m supporting in the election. It’s going to be awesome to spend time with her before the forum and help out however I can.”
In the week before the event, students are also putting their heads together to write an education-focused question to be asked of the candidates during the forum.
“The question we get to provide is probably the most interesting thing to me,” second-year student Samantha Ruelas said. “We’ll obviously be helping out in a nonpartisan capacity, but we’re still going to, ultimately, be constituents of one of these candidates—and I think we as graduate students have an important perspective on issues like student debt, education funding, and other student-related issues.”
A Behind the Scenes Look
In addition to posing a question and helping candidates before the forum, Bush School students will also take part in a Question and Answer session with moderators Karla Castillo and Tara Mergener.
“Most Bush School students plan to work for government in some capacity after graduation,” Bush School Student Government Association President Dylan Armstrong said. “Elections, obviously, play a huge part in all levels of government, and the ability to talk to moderators at an event like this and ask them how they go about preparing is absolutely a huge opportunity.”
The forum, which will be held at Rudder Theatre on the A&M campus, will not be open to the public. However, because the School is a sponsor, Bush School students have been allotted dozens of spots in the audience, which is mostly reserved for candidates’ family and staff.
“We’re so pleased to be partnering with KBTX and KWTX for this forum,” Public Service and Administration Department Head Lori Taylor said. “This is going to give our students the opportunity not only to have front row seats to democracy in action but also to participate in a way that will allow them real interaction with the candidates—one of whom will be our next representative.”