Grand Valley, Hauenstein Center part of coalition to host debates this fall

Portrait of Megan Rydecki, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies
Megan Rydecki, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies
Image credit - Amanda Pitts

A coalition of universities and civic and economic organizations aim to host a series of regional debates to help voters gain a deeper understanding on the policies and platforms from candidates seeking statewide office.

As a member of the Michigan Debate Task Force, Grand Valley and the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies will host one of the regional debates on September 12.  

Megan Rydecki, director of the Hauenstein Center, said the debates will be centered on Michigan voters and require each candidate to elaborate and expand on their message and vision for the state. With the looming retirement of Sen. Debbie Stabenow, one of Michigan’s U.S. Senate seats will become available, creating an opportunity for the task force’s plan to be set in motion. 

“In order to maintain the integrity of the democratic process, we think it's really important for voters to hear directly from candidates about the issues that are most pressing, beyond just sound bites,” Rydecki said.

“It’s key that people actually hear platforms, ideas and plans of attack for how we tackle some of the challenges in our communities and make our state and nation better.”

Each debate will address issues important to the state’s residents but also focus on issues specific to the host region. Along with the debate at Grand Valley, the northern Michigan debate in Traverse City is scheduled for October 10 while the southeast Michigan debate in Detroit is scheduled for October 22.

“It's critical that voters get valuable information from the candidates directly that they can use to inform how they want to vote,” Rydecki said. “It's even more so this year as we deal with the effects of artificial intelligence and disinformation, and people not knowing where to go to get information because they don't know whether or not it's true.”

The Michigan Debate Task Force includes: the Detroit Economic Club, the Economic Club of Traverse City, the Grand Rapids Chamber, Grand Valley State University, The Hispanic Center of West Michigan, the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance, Northwestern Michigan College, Oakland University, the Urban League of Detroit and Southeast Michigan and the Urban League of West Michigan.


Sign up and receive the latest Grand Valley headlines delivered to your email inbox each morning.