SEMINOLE – The Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9 are collaborating with St. Petersburg College to broadcast a Feb. 3 debate between candidates in the special election to succeed the late Republican U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young.
In a special edition of Political Connections, the live televised debate will be hosted on the SPC Seminole campus by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions. It is sponsored by AARP.
The debate, called “A Conversation with the Candidates,” will air Monday, Feb. 3, from 7 to 8 p.m. and be moderated by Times Political Editor Adam C. Smith, Times Assistant Managing Editor/Politics Amy Hollyfield and Bay News 9 senior anchor Al Ruechel.
“We believe this debate will not only inform the voters of District 13 but will air issues of great importance to the people of the entire Tampa Bay region,” said Times Editor Neil Brown, in a press release. “A congressional seat has high stakes for all of us.”
The special election is March 11.
Jeff Johnson, state director of AARP Florida, said, “We are excited to partner with the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9 on this debate to help our community find out where the candidates stand on issues like the economy, financial security, and the future of retirement security programs such as Social Security and Medicare.”
The Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at SPC has experience in staging candidate debates, said Dr. James Olliver, campus provost, adding “our facility is second to none in the area.”
“Holding this event on campus gives us the benefit of providing our students, especially those studying public policy, with a front seat for a discussion of the major issues facing our nation today,” Olliver said.
The Times has produced debates for local, state and national offices for two decades, including races for Florida governor, Tampa and St. Petersburg mayors, the U.S. Senate and the 1996 national Vice Presidential Debate.