by: CHESANIE BRANTLEY/Editor-in-Chief
Very rarely does a small town like Levelland have the opportunity to be the site of a Republican Congressional Debate.
On Feb. 23, that is exactly what South Plains College will be hosting in the Tom T. Hall Recording and Production Studio in the Creative Arts Building.
Drew Landry, assistant professor of government, is the person who had the idea for this debate during the winter break. He said as soon as the professors all got back for in-service, he pitched the idea to Larry Norris, associate professor of government, who told him there was a lot to do if he was going to get it done. They then talked about dates and decided Feb. 23 would be the best day for it. Next, he pitched the idea to Dr. Laura Graves, chairperson of the Social Sciences Department and professor of history.
“I brought forth this idea, and she said, ‘Well, I don’t think you have a lot of time, but if you want to, go right ahead,’” said Landry.
According to Landry, after that, Dr. Graves sent the idea to Yancy Nunez, dean of Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Robin Satterwhite, vice president of academic affairs. Then Dr. Satterwhite passed it on to Dr. Kelvin Sharp, president of SPC.
Landry said he was told that Dr. Sharp said he also thought he did not have a lot of time, but he could do it if he got all eight candidates who have filed to run.
“Within about two weeks, I got all eight Republicans to say that they were in,” said Landry. “I (also) got KJTV to say that they were going to broadcast it live.”
According to Landry, there will be three moderators. One will be an anchor from KJTV, another is Grant Dewbre, the treasurer of the Student Government Association at SPC, and Janna Holt-Day, professor of speech communication at SPC.
“They will ask a variety of questions dealing with what they have done in the past, their public record and what they have stated in the past,” Landry said. “Also, their views on the issues at the federal level, like the national security, health care, immigration, taxation and those types of things.”
Landry said that he would like for the moderators to really engage the congressional candidates, and press them for answers. He said he would like to get actual answers during the debate and not just the candidate’s sound bites and cliche sayings that they have.
According to Landry, he was informed by some of those in the commercial music program that the studio is able to hold 175 people at one time. They are prepared for a large group, however, and have two other rooms that will be available in case Tom T. Hall is full. One is the Sundown Room in the Student Center, and the other will be Room 137 in the Creative Arts Building. The debate will be streaming live in both rooms.
“My hope for that day is, by the end of the night, the voters in the area will have a better idea about these candidates,” according to Landry.