Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

DebateWatch '96 at Work

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

DebateWatch '96 at Work

Article excerpt

DebateWatch 96 is catching on in big cities like Wichita, Kan. -- home to NLC Election `96 Task Force chair Bob Knight and small communities like Robbinsdale, Minn. and Orem, Utah. In fact, local governments are finding ideas listed in the NLC Election 96 Tool Kit are flexible enough to fit all communities big or small.

Wichita's grassroots efforts grew into nearly 100 planned groups of citizens who will watch the presidential and vice presidential debates together and then hold discussions about whether candidate proposals for shaping the nation are tuned into the impact those plans will have locally.

Elected officials are participating in the DebateWatch initiative, a part of the NLC partnership with the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, to organize a series of questions for candidates and strategies to help citizens voice their concerns to candidates. Working through community-based organizations and individual citizens DebateWatch events are becoming reality across the country.

While similarities do exist, cities are shaping plans to fit the needs of the communities. Robbinsdale and Orem are just two cities finding a supportive response from citizens

Robbinsdale, Minn.

So far, about 8 homeowners throughout the city of Robbinsdale have agreed to host communities forums during the first presidential debate scheduled for national television on September 25, 1996.

"Robbinsdale excitement is growing every day. Each councilmember was challenged to find 2 homes in each ward. That process is still working and we hope to have group discussions to follow each of the four debates of the presidential campaign," said Robbinsdale Councilmember Bob Zagaros. …

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