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Union to offer forum for congressional candidates; format will replace debate

JACKSON, Tenn.Sept. 9, 2010 – Union University will invite all four candidates from the 8th Congressional District to speak at the university individually in a series of four one-hour forums leading up to the election in November.

This format will replace a scheduled Oct. 5 debate between 8th Congressional District candidates Stephen Fincher and Roy Herron, and will provide greater opportunities to hear directly from the candidates about their views on important issues facing the district, state and nation, Union President David S. Dockery said.

“Those of us who serve at Union University are constantly looking for ways that we can participate in helping to make the Jackson and West Tennessee communities even better places to live,” Dockery said. “It was out of that desire that we initially considered the idea of hosting a debate between the two primary candidates involved in the election for the 8th Congressional District in the state of Tennessee.”

But Dockery said that after conversations with many constituents interested in the life of Union University, it seemed prudent to switch to a different format.

“We think this format of four individual forums will provide a level playing field for all the candidates, will allow more time for questions and answers and thus will provide a more valuable service to the community,” Dockery said. “As James Madison said, ‘A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.’”

Dockery said the series of forums would give each candidate an equal amount of time to address the public and to answer questions from those in attendance. For each forum, the candidate will be given 10 minutes to make an introductory statement, followed by 50 minutes of question-and-answer time.

Dates and times for the forums will be announced at a later time, Dockery said, once the university has communicated with each campaign and each candidate has selected a time slot.

The forums will be free and open to the public.

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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