Debates must go on despite GOP Chairman’s admonition

Former Republican legislator reiterates the importance of debates for civic participation
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Salt Lake City — A series of non-partisan, legislative debates has come under fire after an e-mail exchange from Republican party leadership was leaked to the political news site

In the exchange, Utah GOP Chairman James Evans discouraged his Republican candidates from participating in a series of debates organized by the John R. Park Debate Society, KCPW and the ABU Education Fund, the 501(c)(3) affiliate of Alliance for a Better UTAH.

David Irvine, board member of Alliance for a Better UTAH, has released the following statement on behalf of Better UTAH and its affiliate, ABU Education Fund:

“This strikes me as a cheap way to avoid a real debate. Any candidate who has a problem appearing at a highly legitimate forum to engage in a serious way on vital public topics — with neutral rules and a neutral moderator–has no business pretending to be an advocate and a competitor in the free marketplace of ideas. Voters deserve to see and hear a real, person-to-person exchange. We need more Lincoln-Douglas-style debates, not less. The Republican Chair is doing GOP candidates a huge disservice.”

The Utah Policy article can be found here:

Isaac Holyoak
Communications Director, Alliance for a Better UTAH
801.664.9751 |

ABU Education Fund |
ABU Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing a strong, educational voice by creating resources that advance civic engagement and good governance.

2014 Senate District 4 Debate Recording

2014 Senate District 4 Debate Recording

Democrat Jani Iwamoto and Republican Sabrina Petersen debate on October 7, 2014 at Holladay City Hall’s Big Cottonwood Room. Iwamoto and Petersen are vying for the Senate District 4 seat being vacated by State Senator Pat Jones (D). The event was sponsored by ABU Education Fund, an affiliate of Alliance for a Better Utah, the University of Utah’s John R. Park Debate Society and KCPW.


This recording was originally posted by KCPW on October 9, 2014. You can see the original post here.