April 18, 2019  

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Southern Miss Speech and Debate Society to Host District 4 Congressional Debate Oct. 26

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The Speech and Debate Society at The University of Southern Mississippi will host a debate between Mark Gladney (D) and Ric McCluskey (L), candidates for U.S. House of Representatives, District 4. The event is free and open to the public and will be held Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 6:30 p.m. in Thad Cochran Center Ballroom I.

The candidates will have the opportunity to give speeches, respond to questions from the moderators, and field questions from the audience. At the conclusion of the debate, candidates and their campaign staff will mingle with the audience and connect with voters. The award-winning USM Speech and Debate Society will serve as moderators of the event, with some assistance from the Pine Belt chapter of the League of Women Voters.

Dr. Paul Strait is the director of forensics and an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Southern Miss. "We are so excited to be hosting this debate, particularly since all of the candidates are Southern Miss alumni,” Strait said. “Students and other attendees will be able to participate directly in our democracy, asking questions and meeting with the candidates and campaign staffers. They will also see how the skills learned in competitive forensics translate to real civic discourse in the public sphere." 

Seth Findley, a doctoral student from Hot Springs, Ark. agrees with Dr. Strait. "By hosting the debate on campus, students will be able to observe first-hand candidates discussing important topics. This is an easy way for students to both learn and take part in the political process without leaving campus."

For more information about the Congressional debate, contact the Department of Communication Studies at 601.266.4271. Learn more about the department at https://www.usm.edu/communication-studies.