On Oct. 25, Radford University held its first political forum in the Bondurant Auditorium. The event was hosted and coordinated by RU’s nonpartisan student organization, the Political Science Club. With the help of Dr. Tanya Corbin, the organization’s sponsor, and many other faculty members the forum was a success.
There were more than 300 people in attendance including students, faculty and citizens of the Radford community.
“Even the Mayor of Radford attended,” Corbin said. “I was absolutely beaming with pride- the students did a great job!”
The Political Science Club invited Virginia House of Delegates candidates Joseph Yost and Don Langrehr and State Senate candidates Adam Light and current senator Phillip Puckett. Yost’s campaign manager informed Corbin that they would not be attending the forum 24 hours prior to the event. He also declined a forum invitation in the City of Radford from the League of Women Voters with the same notice.
During the forum, the candidates were asked questions written by students. The candidates received the questions in advance.
Employment proved to be the main concern. With this generation facing one of the most volatile economies in US history, this concern was readily addressed by the candidates.
Langrehr, an RU educational studies professor, stressed the importance of digital technologies to keep college graduates in the area. Light suggested vocational and trade schools as an inexpensive alternative to college. Puckett agreed with Langrehr about needing to bring technology companies to the area.
The environment was also on students’ minds. This subject received vague answers from the candidates. This is a subject that has been debated a lot in Southwest Virginia because coal mining is a major part of its economy. The candidates all agreed on that aspect of the forum.
Other questions received more direct responses from the candidates. When Light was asked whether he was pro-life or pro-choice, his answer was clear: pro-life. The question of whether or not college students have the right to carry a concealed weapon on campus elicited one word from Senator Puckett: no.
Langrehr ended the forum on a lively note. Trying to prove to students and potential voters that he wasn’t a part of the political machine. He stood up, waved his hands and said, “With me, there are no strings attached.”
Despite some hiccups surrounding the absence of Yost, the forum seemed to operate smoothly and was well received by the audience. The Political Science Club was proud to have held a successful political forum at RU. Corbin seemed excited for the future of the group.
“I have been extremely proud of them and I feel honored to be their advisor,” she said.