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News & Press: Debate

VBA Again Opens Debate to the Public

Friday, June 30, 2017   (0 Comments)
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Candidates for Virginia's next governor, Democrat Ralph S. Northam and Republican Edward W. "Ed" Gillespie, will appear in a 90-minute debate during The Virginia Bar Association's 2017 Summer Meeting. The free, public event starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 22, in the Grand Ballroom of The Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia.

Registration is required.

Register to Attend

Ralph S. Northam, candidate for Virginia governorNortham Edward W. Ed Gillespie, candidate for Virginia governorGillespie

Northam serves as lieutenant governor of Virginia. The former Virginia state senator is a pediatric neurologist, an Army veteran, a Virginia Military Institute graduate and an Eastern Shore native.

Republican Ed Gillespie is a business owner who served as counselor to President George W. Bush and chaired both the Republican Party of Virginia and the Republican National Committee.

Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor of "PBS NewsHour," will moderate. The format consists of opening and closing statements, candidate-to-candidate questions and moderator questions.

“We are excited to again offer the first opportunity for the candidates for the office of Virginia’s governor to meet face-to-face in sharing their vision for the commonwealth,” said Steuart Thomas, president-elect of The Virginia Bar Association and partner with the Staunton-based firm of Timberlake, Smith, Thomas & Moses, P.C.

Public debates help fulfill the VBA’s commitment to serve all Virginians as well as the legal profession. By sponsoring debates, the VBA seeks to educate the public and its members about candidate views on issues and to stimulate voter interest and participation in the election process.

The July 22 debate is free and open to the public. Access to the debate hall is restricted to registrants with a valid, VBA-provided badge. Summer Meeting registrants and their guests with name badges should wear them to the debate hall. The public can sign up in advance or at the VBA Registration Desk in the hotel's Garden Room and pick up badges there. Doors to the debate hall open to the public at 10:30 a.m.

News media coverage is encouraged. Media representatives should register online.

"PBS NewsHour" plans to stream the event live online and provide a pool feed for broadcasters. The VBA will share the URL closer to the event.

The tradition of VBA-sponsored debates between candidates for statewide political office dates to 1985. The 2017 event will be the ninth consecutive gubernatorial debate presented by the VBA. Any interested individual can suggest a question to be considered for the debate.

Suggest a Debate Question

The Virginia Bar Association is a nonpartisan organization that does not endorse, support or oppose political candidates. It is the intention of the VBA that its debates in no way promote or advance one candidate over others.

The VBA is the first and largest voluntary statewide organization of lawyers and judges. As the independent voice of the Virginia lawyer, its mission is to advance the highest ideals of the profession through advocacy and volunteer service.


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