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Candidates Square-Off in Debates at Lander University Days Before Election

Mary Geren (D), left, and Jeff Duncan (R), candidates for U.S. House of Representatives, District 3, square off during a debate at Lander University on Thursday, Nov. 1. The event was funded in part by a grant from S.C. Humanities, and co-sponsored by Lander's College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and the Index-Journal. Photo by Megan V. Price.

Just days before voters cast their ballots in the midterm elections, hundreds of community members and students filled Lander University's Abney Cultural Center Auditorium to hear from candidates running for local, state and federal offices, and to take part in asking questions of the contenders.

The Nov. 1 forum was funded in part by S.C. Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The "Democracy and the Informed Citizen" project is spearheaded by the national Federation of State Humanities Councils, of which S.C. Humanities is a member.

The event was part of Lander's "Achieving the Promise: Democracy and the Informed Citizen" series that provides events throughout the 2018-2019 academic year, building upon the university's legacy of civic engagement by giving a distinct set of opportunities and experiences for its campus community and the citizens within the Lakelands region.

"This is just one of the many ways that Lander partners with community organizations in Greenwood and across the Lakelands area," Lander President Dr. Richard Cosentino said as he opened the event. "Lander's campus has enjoyed a tradition of good, civil discussion about a diverse array of topics, and this conversation will continue that tradition, which is a critical element in our civic life together."

Dr. Lucas McMillan, dean of Lander's College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, and Richard Whiting, executive editor of the Index-Journal, served as moderators. Candidates who took part in the debate included:

  • U.S. House of Representatives, District 3: Jeff Duncan (R) and Mary Geren (D)
    (Video Part 1, Video Part 2)
  • S.C. House of Representatives, District 13: Michael Gaskin (D) and John McCravy (R)
    (Video Part 1, Video Part 2)
  • Mayor of Greenwood (non-partisan): Annette Edwards and Brandon Smith
  • Greenwood County School District 50 Board of Trustees (non-partisan): Luke Downing (seat 1), Hillary Craigo (seat 2); Shell Dula and Clay Sprouse (seat 6); and Danielle Fields and Carlton Barrett Klugh (seat 8)
    (Video Part 1, Video Part 2, Video Part 3)

The Achieving the Promise series will continue on Wednesday, Nov. 7, with a panel discussion on civic engagement, and a lecture by Lander professor Dr. Kimberly Richburg on Tuesday, Nov. 13, concerning "Briggs v. Elliott," the S.C. case that later inspired "Brown v. Board of Education."

SC Humanities
The mission of South Carolina Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. This not-for-profit organization presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and humanities-based experiences that reach more than 250,000 citizens annually. South Carolina Humanities receives funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as corporate, foundation and individual donors. It is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state.

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