Tuesday evening in James Hall, the inaugural Republican and Democratic club debate took place. The two-hour debate was feisty but respectful. The debate focused on four important topics and a follow up question asked by the moderator.
The Republican club won the opening coin toss and started off in the debate with first chance at the opening statement. Senior RTF and journalism major Matteo Iadonisi made the opening and closing statements for the Republicans, while sophomore political science major Hafiza Kazi and junior political science major Edwin Soto split the duties for the Democrats.
For the first two topics, property taxes and gun control, the Republicans started off, with the Democrats responding. Each topic was given 11 minutes for discussion, although both sides did go over time by a slight amount.
The question about property taxes focused on the upcoming gubernatorial election and which side’s tax plan would be more beneficial to college age voters, while the gun control question took a look at the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, with a follow up question about bump stocks, used by the shooter to speed up the fire rate of his gun.
The two other topics in the debate were abortion and immigration. After both groups went over the allotted times, the time limit for the final two topics were extended to 15 minutes each. The final topic, immigration, was proceeded by a follow up question, “Should refugees be allowed to settle in this country?” That follow up was given 10 minutes of time.
While both groups were able to meet and debate respectfully, there was very little common ground that they both agreed on. The only consensus that was agreed upon by both parties was that abortion is acceptable if there is a case of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is in danger.
Junior journalism major Alexander Heller was in attendance at the debate. He is a member of both the Democrat Club and Republican Club and said that the debate seemed to go very well from his point of view.
“Both sides did a great job representing their ideas,” Heller said. “The one thing they definitely agreed on is that they both love America and I appreciate that. They were open and helped the audience get a true understanding of their ideas. This was absolutely vital for Rowan’s campus to have this debate and see people’s passions for politics and change.”
Kazi said after the debate that she enjoyed the entire process of setting up for the event, as well as the event itself.
“I thought it was amazing to be a part of the planning and the debate,” Kazi said. “Both clubs really came together and had a great debate, especially with everyone having different perceptions and opinions. Hopefully, in the future we can do more events like this one.”
For sophomore chemical engineering major and Republican debater Tom Bielicki, being able to be a part of this event was a lot of fun.
“It was all good fun,” Bielicki said. “I loved coming out here and seeing the opposite sides’ point of view, hopefully after the governor’s election we can do it again.”
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