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CODA offers “debate alternative” at Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN:  The Coalition for October Debate Alternatives (CODA) released the program and format today for the Presidential Candidate’s Alternative Debate to be held October 6 at 7 p.m. at  4309 Stevenson Hall (seating for 250), Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tennessee.  Those candidates who have confirmed attendance include Charles Jay of the Boston Tea Party, Brad Lyttle of the US Pacifist Party, Frank McEnulty of the New American Independent Party, Brian Moore of the Socialist Party, Darrell Castle, Vic Presidential Candidate of the Constitution Party, and Gloria La Riva of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.  The moderator of the debate will be Bruce Barry, Vanderbilt Professor at the Owen School of Management. The event is free and open to the public on a first come basis.  For those who are unable to watch the debates in person, the debate can be viewed live on the website of Vanderbilt University.  The debate will also be archived on the internet at Vanderbilt University’s Youtube page.

The format for the debate will consist of policy and platform questions concerning the economy, foreign policy, health care, the environment, civil liberties, the federal budget, reproductive rights, international trade, gun rights, campaign finance reform, immigration, education and race and gender.  Each candidate will be given two minutes to make introductory statements and then one or two minutes per question to answer policy and platform questions.  The debate will end at 8:30pm with a candidate’s reception to follow in the lobby of the Stephenson Center.

For more information about the Presidential Candidate’s Alternative Debate visit their web site.

Attending this event will be Charles Jay of the Boston Tea Party, Brad Lyttle of the US Pacifist Party, Frank McEnulty of the New American Independent Party, Brian Moore  of the Socialist Party, Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party and  Gloria La Riva  of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.  Bruce Barry  will serve as moderator for this event.

Debate Format:

7:00 PM:    Introduction and Opening Statements (2 Minutes Per Candidate)
7:15 PM:    Policy and Issue Questions (1 or 2 Minutes Per Candidate)
8:20 PM:    Closing Statements  (1 Minute Per Candidate)
8:30 PM:    Debate End and Candidate’s Reception

Ground Rules: Candidates are encouraged to keep within time limits announced. A time keeper will present placards to candidates showing time limits of response. Once over time moderator has discretion to close comments and move on to next candidate.  Moderator has discretion to clarify candidate’s response and encourage dialogue between candidates.

Topic List: (Data Source: Project Vote Smart)

The Economy: Americans are concerned about the safety of their retirements, pension and ability to obtain a mortgage.  The value of the dollar is dropping and investor confidence is at an all time low, what will you do to improve our nation’s economy?  What will you do to reduce our national indebtedness and in doing so restore world confidence that investing in America is a good option?  What is your solution for the thousands of Americans who are facing foreclosure or have lost their housing? Do you support increased funding for national job-training programs that retrain displaced workers or teach skills needed in today’s job market?  Would you support an increase in the federal minimum wage?  What are your feelings about the rights of workers to form unions?

Federal Budget: Americans want to know where their candidates stand on the federal budget.  The allocation of funds for federal programs is one of the most important roles the president plays in shaping public policy.  How would you have voted on a federal bailout of Wall Street?  What conditions would you attach to such a bailout?  What are your budget priorites on federal issues such as defense, education, the environment and health care? Do you support requiring the federal budget to be balanced each year?  Please indicate your plans for the social security system?  Would you work to ensure the viability of the social security system?  Would you raise the retirment age for individual eligibility to receive full benefits?

Foreign Policy: What is your foreign policy agenda for the United States?  Would you support an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan?  What would you do if elected President regarding US relations with Iran?  What are your feelings about pre-emptive use of military force as an instrument of national policy? Do you support long-term use of National Guard troops to supplement the armed forces in assignments overseas?  Should the United States provide leadership in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process?  Should the United States support the creation of a Palestinian state?  Do you support greater economic and diplomatic sanctions against North Korea?  Finally, should the United States be involved in peace keeping activities in countries like Sudan, Zimbabwe, Somalia and Burma?  Do you support the United States granting aid to countries when extraordinary circumstances cause disaster and threaten civilian lives?

Health Care: The issue of access to quality, affordable health care is a concern for many voters.  Nearly fifty million Americans do not have access to health care but at the same time some people advocate that the United States has the best health care system in the world.  What are your thoughts on the issue of access to health care?  Do you support universal single payer health care? What would you do to reduce the costs of prescription drugs for Seniors? Do you support the legalization of medical marijuana?

Education: Please indicate your policy platform on the issue of education. Would you support increased funding of our nation’s k-12 public schools. What are your feelings about mandatory standards and testing requirements for students?  What are your feelings about the use of vouchers?  What will you do regarding federal funding and support for our nation’s public college students? Do you support increased or decreased funding for pell grants for college students?

Abortion and Reproductive Rights: Many Americans have strong feelings about issues related to reproductive rights and abortion. Do you feel that abortion should always be legal, should only be legal within the first trimester, when the woman’s life is endangered, in the case of incest or rape, or should always be illegal?  How do you feel about federal subsidies being used on abortion procedures? Do you support federal funding for research on existing embryonic stem cell lines?  Do you support federal funding to create lines of stem cells from new embryos?

Same Sex Marriage: What are your feelings regarding the issue of same sex marriage?  As a candidate for federal office, do you believe that same-sex couples be allowed to form civil unions?  Should same-sex couples be allowed to marry or do you support a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman? Should sexual orientation be included in federal anti-discrimination laws?

Crime and Punishment: More Americans are incarcerated now than at any point in our history, what role do you believe the federal government should play on issues of crime and punishment?  Do you support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released?  Do you support mandatory jail sentences for selling illegal drugs?  Do you support programs to provide prison inmates with drug and alcohol addiction treatment?  Would you support the decriminalization of the possession of small amounts of marijuana? How do you feel about reduced prison sentences for those who commit non-violent crimes? Do you support the elimination the use of the death penalty for federal crimes?

Race and Gender: Race and gender continue to be defining issues in federal policy.  As a candidate do you believe the consider race and gender in government contracting decisions?  Do you support affirmative action in public college admissions?

Campaign Finance Reform: As you know, campaign finance reform has continued to be an issue of importance to voters.  Currently seven states have adopted some form of campaign finance reform which involves the allocation of public dollars for candidates.  On the federal level one candidate has said that the current system of public campaign finance is broken, while another candidate has accepted campaign finance limits.  How do you feel about the issue of campaign finance reform and elections?  Do you support campaign finance reform of the current election financing system? If elected would you support public taxpayer funding for candidates who comply with spending limits?  Do you support instant runoff voting or election day as a national holiday?

The Environment: What would you do regarding the environment and energy policy?  Please indicate your policy issues regarding offshore oil drilling and drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge.  What will you do to move America towards a clean energy future?  Do you support strengthened fuel efficiency standards on all gasoline and diesel powered engines?  Do you support the use of ethanol as an alternative fuel?  What will you do to increase development of alternative energy?  Do you consider nuclear energy to be an alternative energy source that needs to be developed for national energy security? Do you support international mandatory emission targets to limit global warming?

Gun Rights: Please indicate your position on the issue of the second amendment.  Do you believe that Americans should be allowed to carry conceal weapons?  Should current enforcement and restrictions on the purchase of guns be strengthened?  Should individuals be allowed to carry guns on college campuses?  Do you support a ban on the ownership of handguns except by law enforcement or other government officials?

Immigration: Please indicate your policy platform on the issue of immigration.  Would you support amnesty for undocumented workers who are already working in the United States?  Do you believe that undocumented workers should be offered a path to citizenship?  Do you support harsher punishments for employers who knowingly hire immigrants who are not in this country legally?  Do you believe that people who are not here legally should be returned to their countries of origin, even if it means breaking up their families?

International Trade: Please indicate your position on matters of trade?  Do you support economic globalization and free trade agreements such as NAFTA, CAFTA and GATT?  Would you work to withdraw the US from international free trade agreements?  Would you support the continued participation of the United States in the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund and World Bank?  Do you support the United States imposing economic sanctions on China for human rights abuses?

Civil Liberties: Civil liberties are of the utmost concern to many Americans.  The Bush administration has argued that there must be a balance between respect for civil liberties and the need to fight the terrorists.  Should law enforcement agencies have greater discretion to monitor domestic communications?  Do you support a repeal of the patriot act?  What role should the department of Homeland Security play in national affairs?  Would you support the creation of a federal level Department of Peace?

For more information contact Chris Lugo, 615-593-0304, chris4senate@gmail.com; Elizabeth Barger, 931-964-2119, loveliz77@yahoo.com; or Eric Schecter, 615-414-4572, leftymathprof@yahoo.com.

Chris Lugo
Chris Lugohttp://www.chris4senate.org/
Chris Lugo is a peace activist who has been involved in the movement for peace and global justice for twenty years. He is currently seeking the Green Party nomination for US Senate in Tennessee.

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