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UMFK and Fort Kent BPW to hold State Senate and House debates

October 8, 2004


The University of Maine at Fort Kent, in partnership with the Fort Kent Business and Professional Women's Club, is planning two debates, one for the candidates running for Maine State Senate District 35 and a separate exchange for candidates seeking the House District 1 seat.

On Tuesday, October 19, at 7:00 p.m., incumbent Democratic State Senator John Martin of Eagle Lake and his Republican challenger Cathy Bouchard Martin of Caribou, both of whom are hoping to represent Maine's northernmost Senate District in the next State Legislature, will face-off in a 60-minute debate in the Nadeau Hall teleconference room on the UMFK campus.

The following evening, Wednesday, October 20, the two candidates seeking the State House District 1 seat, incumbent Democrat Troy Jackson and Republican challenger Paul Berube, both of Fort Kent, will have their turn debating at UMFK in the Nadeau Hall teleconference room, beginning at 7:00 p.m.

The debates are part of a series of three consecutive evenings of pre-election events hosted by UMFK, through its partnership with the American Democracy Project. The first exchange, featuring the three candidates on the ballot for Maine's Second Congressional District, will take place on Monday.

Both the State Senate and House exchanges will follow the format of a traditonal moderator/panelist debate.

Selected panelists will address questions to the candidates with the moderator Jason Parent of UMFK, ensuring questions flow and candidates adhere to agreed upon time limits.

Panelists selected to address questions to the State Senate candidates on Tuesday evening include Geri Martin, president of the Maine State Business and Professional Women's organization, Dennis Curley, president and owner of the Channel X Radio Network, Mary Jo Shafer, editor of the St. John Valley Times, Greta Martin, a member of UMFK's Student Senate, and Allen Shoaff, a representative of UMFK's faculty.

During Wednesday evening's exchange between State House candidates Troy Jackson and Paul Berube, questions will be addressed by Peter Sirois, associate administrator of Northern Maine Medical Center, Ryan Pelletier, town manager of St. Agatha and vice president of the Maine Municipal Association, Suzie Paradis, board director for the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce, Tim Doak, principal of Fort Kent Community High School, Will Barnum, a representative of the UMFK student, and Bradley Ritz, a representative of UMFK's faculty.

Both of the debates will be videotaped for broadcast on cable access television stations in Northern Maine. The State Senate Debate will also be carried live on the radio stations of the Channel X Broadcast Network throughout Aroostook County.

The Fort Kent BPW, which sponsored similar debates in the St. John Valley in 2002, has joined with UMFK for the upcoming American Democracy Project events on the campus.

ADP targets undergraduates enrolled at institutions that are members of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).

The project grew out of a concern about decreasing rates of participation in the civic life of America in voting, in advocacy, in local grassroots associations, and in other forms of civic engagement that are necessary for the vitality of our democracy.

The public is welcome to attend both events free of charge. Only 80 seats are available each evening and tickets for each evening will only be available at the door on a first come, first served basis.

For more information on the series of UMFK/BPW debates, contact the university relations office at (207) 834-7557.