In collaboration with community partners, Utah Tech University’s Institute of Politics is set to host a St. George City Council debate as well as a forum featuring the two major party candidates for the open seat in U.S. Congress in Utah's Second District.

Sponsored by the Washington County Debate Coalition, the St. George City Council debate will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 1 in the Mainstage Theatre of Eccles Fine Arts Center on the Utah Tech campus. A candidate meet and greet will precede the debate at 6 p.m.

The following week, the Institute of Politics will partner with the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce to host the congressional forum at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 7 in the M.K. Cox Performing Arts Center, also on the Utah Tech campus.

Both events, which are being held ahead of Washington County’s Nov. 21 Special and Municipal General Election, are open to the community and free to attend.

Three seats are open for the St. George City Council, and candidates for the positions include Brad Bennett, Jimmie B. Hughes, Steve Kemp, Dannielle Larkin and Paula Smith. The Washington County Debate Coalition, which is comprised of Utah Tech’s Institute of Politics, local media companies, the major political parties, interest groups and local academics, is sponsoring the debate to help inform local voters.

“When we first started the coalition, with help from all of our members, my desire was to bring spirited debate to Washington County,” said Vince Brown, chair of the Washington County Debate Coalition. “We want our voters to be as informed as possible when making their voting decisions. Several years later, it thrills me to see these debates as a staple of political life in Washington County.”

Across campus the following week, Celeste Maloy (R) and Kathleen Riebe (D), who are running for Utah's Second District congressional seat vacated by Congressman Chris Stewart, will participate in a forum.

“We are excited for a forum to be held in Southern Utah,” said Lesa Sandberg, Washington County Republican Party chairperson. “In Congressional District 2, Washington County represents nearly one-third of the voters eligible to vote in this special election. It is highly likely that we will be the deciding factor in the race. We are glad that the candidates recognize the importance of education and campaigning to voters in our area. We are pleased to welcome Republican Candidate Celeste Maloy back to St. George, where she resided prior to serving with Congressman Chris Stewart the last four years. Celeste has the experience, knowledge and service record to represent Southern Utah and CD2!”

Held in a discussion format, the forum will be moderated by Brown, who will have one-on-one conversations with each candidate about the issues that matter to the residents of Southern Utah. He also will solicit questions from the public.

“Get ready, Utah! We are extremely excited to attend an upcoming forum featuring Kathleen Riebe, candidate for Congressional District 2,” Chuck Goode, Washington County Democratic Party chairperson, said. “With a proven track record in the Utah State Senate and a relentless dedication to education and community growth, Kathleen Riebe is ready to take her passion and determination to the national stage.”

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