CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With Republican Bill Cole and Democrat Jim Justice agreeing to participate in the Oct. 4 West Virginia Gubernatorial Debate, residents of West Virginia are now being asked to help formulate the questions that will be used during the event.
The West Virginia Press Association and AARP West Virginia, with the assistance of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, are hosting the debate at the Clay Center in Charleston, W.Va.
The 60-minute debate, along with a 30-minute follow-up analysis by state media representatives, will be televised live across the state on WVPB’s West Virginia Channel. It will also be live-streamed on WVPB, WVPA and select newspaper websites. The WVPB broadcast and live-stream will be made available to all media outlets. The debate will originate from the Walker Memorial Theater, and will include a “watch” event in the Clay Center’s Benedum Grand Lobby.
The three non-partisan organizations are now seeking input from West Virginia residents to help identify the key issues across West Virginia.
“We hope to provide voters across the Mountain State an opportunity to learn where the state’s major gubernatorial candidates stand – in their own words – on the issues prior to the November 2016 general election,” said Don Smith, executive director of the West Virginia Press Association. “West Virginians deserve the opportunity to compare and contrast the positions of Democratic candidate Jim Justice and Republican candidate Bill Cole. In organizing this event, we wanted to ensure that all residents – from Cabell County to Jefferson County, Hancock County to Mercer County and all points in between – would have live access and thorough coverage in their local newspaper. We also want residents to share the major concerns from their region of West Virginia. The issues in the Northern Panhandle differ from the issues in southern West Virginia, the Eastern Panhandle or central West Virginia, Smith said.
Questions and suggestions can be emailed to this newspaper or to [email protected]
Between now and Oct. 4, organizers will collect questions and work with professionals, experts, members of the media and members of the public across West Virginia to finalize questions for the debate. Organizers will also reach out to educational, business, industry, social and civic leaders for input.
“All of this information will be gathered and used to formulate the actual debate questions,” Smith said.
Organizers have outlined 10 general areas of interest and all questions should fall within the 10 general areas:
No. 1 – Current Events/Disaster Response & Recovery
No. 2 – Economic Development/Job Creation
No. 3 – Issues Facing West Virginia’s Aging Population
No. 4 – Substance Abuse
No. 5 – Second Amendment Rights
No. 6 – Access to Health Care
No. 7 – Infrastructure: Highways and Broadband
No. 8 – Size of Government
No. 9 – Taxes & Revenues
No. 10 – Education