If a debate occurs in Tucson, and the Star is not around to hear it, does it still make a sound?

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

DebateOn Sunday night there was a gubernatorial forum in Tucson, hosted by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona (ASUA) and Arizona Public Media (AZPM) as part of ASUA’s Our Voice, Our Vote campaign.

Our sad small town newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star (“All the news that Jim Click decides is fit to print”) did not report on this debate. Could it be because Jim Click’s boy, Doug Ducey, made some lame excuse to duck out of this debate? Is it only news at the Star when there is a Republican whom they can write about?

Luckily the Arizona Daily Wildcat, a student run newspaper, still does journalism. Empty seats at Gubernatorial Candidate Forum:

This was the kick-off event for the year-long ASUA “Our Voice, Our Vote” campaign. Candidates present included Libertarian candidate Barry Hess, Democratic candidate Fred DuVal and Americans Elect candidate John Mealer. Doug Ducey, Republican candidate for Arizona governor, was not in attendance at the forum. He declined the invitation from the Associated Students of the University of Arizona due to “scheduling conflicts,” according to ASUA President Issac Ortega. His absence was apparent to all candidates.

The gubernatorial candidates spoke extensively on state issues, including how to help education in Arizona, fix issues regarding the border in Southern Arizona, and mend the economic difficulties the state has been dealing with. Additionally, they gave their opinions on legalizing cannabis and hemp use in Arizona.

Candidates each got a 90-second opening statement, one minute to answer questions, one minute to answer follow-up questions and a 90-second closing statement. Lorraine Rivera, producer and host of Arizona Week at Arizona Public Media, co-moderated the debate with Joey Fisher, editor-in-chief of the Daily Wildcat.

Before the debate officially began, technical difficulties occurred.

“While we’re waiting, hashtag, ‘Dondé está Ducey?’ Stream that,” Hess said. The crowd laughed in response; “dondé está” means “where is” in Spanish.

Some questions to the three candidates were submitted by UA students via ASUA’s Twitter and Facebook page using the hashtag #OurVoiceOurVote.

DuVal made it apparent that he and Ducey have different views on the future of education in the state and fixing the education system in Arizona.

DuVal is a Tucson native and former member of the Arizona Board of Regents. He gave thanks to Mealer and Hess, who is running for governor for the fourth time, for attending.

“I want to thank John and Barry for being here and recognizing how important Pima County and Tucson is to our state,” DuVal said. “I wish Doug felt the same way.”

While Mealer and Hess said that they do support education, DuVal talked about the idea the most during the forum.

“We need to stop the cuts on education,” DuVal said, “and if I were governor, I would immediately veto any budget that cuts another dime, another nickel, another penny from public education. Doug disagrees with that. Doug will cut schools deeper. I say it’s time to start funding our schools now.”

Hess said he believes that he will bring Arizona a government that treats everybody as an equal human being, and that he will balance the state budget from its $1 million deficit, according to Rivera, by eliminating the income tax and going into a transactional tax system.

Mealer said that working to legalize the cannabis and hemp industry will get Arizona out of it’s economic slump.

“Hemp is a multi-trillion dollar industry, if you look at the scope of what it will bring,” Mealer said. “It will bring in new business and an entire new series of talents.”

DuVal said that the economic issue all goes back to ensuring education for all Arizonans.

“Arizona businesses ask for two things when trying to grow a business,” DuVal said. “Having a workforce available, skilled and capable of what we need in order to perform and grow. Secondly, [ensuring] that employees have good schools to go to. Our ability to grow jobs in the future requires us to get back into the business of investing in our children’s education — so that we have the workforces out and growth for the economy of the future to grow us out of the deficit.”

Hess said that education is taking up too much of Arizona’s budget, almost 50 percent.

“We can’t keep doing this,” DuVal said. “It’s the single biggest difference between Doug and I. I think it’s an unfortunate shame that he does not want to debate these issues in Pima county. We have got to make the investment in our schools and teachers in order to create economic growth and the jobs that we want for our future.”

According to the local PBS Channel 6 listings, the gubernatorial forum will be rebroadcast again (on demand video online not yet posted):

When to Watch

day time channel
9/25/2014 2:30 p.m. PBS HD
9/26/2014 10 p.m. PBS HD
9/28/2014 4:30 p.m. PBS HD
9/29/2014 3 p.m. World
9/29/2014 6 p.m. UA Channel

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