ANNOUNCEMENT: The Great Debate

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Like to know more about the candidates for the November 2007 local elections, and be able to pose questions to them about issues that YOU care about?

I am pleased to announce that, in conjunction with some of the other local bloggers, will be sponsoring a debate of the candidates for the Great Falls City Commission and Mayor. The debate will be held on October 17, 2007, at 7:00 p.m. at the Northwest Center (lcoated at 2201 Northwest Bypass).

This debate will be different from the usual debate in a number of ways. First, it will be underwritten by a private citizen, so there will be an admission fee of $5.00. After the costs of renting the venue are repaid, any remaining funds will be donated to the C.M. Russell High School Debate Team.

The CMR Debate Team will help with this project in a number of ways. This will not only allow the students to participate in a real-life civics lesson, it will help us create an environment where citizens can truly learn the candidates’ views, rather than pre-planned sound bites.

The exact format has not been determined but, in conjunction with the Debate Team, we will develop a town meeting type format. We want to ensure the possibility for some real give and take. Local attorney Channing Hartelius has agreed to serve as our moderator.

We will solicit debate questions from you — blog readers. With the help of the Debate Team, we will select the top questions, and be sure to go beyond the standard run-of-the-mill debate questions that every election features. We want voters to get to know the candidates, and be able to really get a chance to see how they communicate with local citizens, and how they respond to tough questions.

You might be wondering how this debate will differ from traditional media-sponsored events…and rightly so. How’s this: everyone who pays admission to the debate will be given a ballot. After the debate, the audience will vote for the candidate he or she believes won the debate. And, more than a mere vote, each audience member will, along with his or her ballot, contribute $10.00 to the candidate he or she believes won. When the results are totaled, the candidate with the most votes (and money) will be declared the winner. Every candidate will receive the money ‘voted’ for him or her for that candidate’s campaign.

Please plan to support this community event on October 17. If you have any questions, please e-mail me (david AT or leave a comment here.



  1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers! on

    Great idea! A true grassroots sponsored debate! Good for the community. Good for democracy. I’m all for it. I’ll be there.

  2. Greg and David, thank you for the effort to organize this event. While I look forward to a debate, I disagree with the pay-per-view concept. I also disagree with the format.

    Let’s make this a true and open forum with the only “entry price” being the citizens name on a draw card. Have a random drawing and let the selected citizen ask their question. No pre-screening, let the chips fall as they may.

    This is about getting the public involved with their government and having a real voice again. This is the core of my candidacy. The people don’t have trust in their government. Why would they have trust in people selecting the questions in advance?

    I’m sure with a little leg work we can find a willing venue at a church or school.

    Susan Kahn
    Candidate for Mayor

  3. I applaud Dave and the bloggers for being pro-active and trying something different. I wish more groups sponsored more events sooner. I would like to see the city sponsor a free event at the civic center. So far this debate is the only public debate scheduled and I accept the invitation.

    Ed McKnight
    Mayoral Candidate

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