Students host political forum

With state representatives and mayoral candidates—students weren’t kidding around when they said that they were hosting a legitimate political forum.  On Oct. 9 in the auditorium, students hosted Julie Parrish, State Representative for House District 37, and her opponent Carl Hosticka and the two mayoral candidates for West Linn; John Kovash, incumbent, and Ron LeBlanc.

Students asked the House candidates questions on three topics: education, environment and economic development. They asked the mayoral candidates questions on infrastructure and economic development.

“I think it went really smoothly and I think it went as we planned as far as the candidates not attacking each other,” Morgan Haskin, junior, said. Haskin was part of the student committee which helped organize, put together and facilitate the forum.

The forum was the brainchild of Todd Jones, A.P. Government teacher, who solicited the candidates, but it was being run almost exclusively by students.

“I thought of [having a political forum] this summer and I purely thought of it as an educational opportunity for students,” Jones said. Why did students organize the forum? Jones said that he wanted to inspire students to take an active role in politics.

“I really want to instill in students this notion of empowerment, like we don’t have to be on the outside of the system looking in, we can have a voice, we can have an effect. That’s the whole point,” Jones said.

The forum was open to the public but the majority of attendees were students and parents. The audience had the opportunity to write down questions for the candidates on notecards but only two questions were asked for each topic and the questions were screened before the candidates answered them.