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Watch “The People’s Debate “ on Video

Left to right: John Accordino, Robert Holsworth, L. Douglas Wilder, Rachel Bitecofer, J. Lee Vogler, Kristine Artello, and Cordel Faulk
Left to right: John Accordino, Robert Holsworth, L. Douglas Wilder, Rachel Bitecofer, J. Lee Vogler, Kristine Artello, and Cordel Faulk

”The People’s Debate: Tackling State and National Issues with Your Questions” prompted questions and generated robust discussion about a wide range of issues on the eve of Virginia’s statewide elections.

The Wilder School hosted the Nov. 2 forum led by L. Douglas Wilder, former Virginia governor and distinguished professor, and Robert D. Holsworth, Ph.D., noted political analyst and former dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences at VCU.

You can watch a video of the two-hour event here, and follow the digital coverage at #wilderforum.

The gubernatorial campaign, President Trump, Confederate statues, the record number of women seeking office in Virginia, immigration and the importance of the African-American vote were among the many topics covered, both in the remarks of the participants and questions from the audience.

Quoting former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill, Governor Wilder pointed out that all politics is local.

“The president doesn’t pick up your trash, members of Congress don’t pave your roads. People on the ground are those most affected by government. That’s why it is so important to listen to the people. I am here to listen and learn, but I will be around to ask a few questions.”

Joining Governor Wilder and Dr. Holsworth as panelists were:

  • Cordel L. Faulk, J.D., assistant dean and chief admissions officer at the University of Virginia School of Law and former director of communications, media and research for the university’s Center for Politics.
  • Rachel Bitecofer, Ph.D., assistant director of the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy and lecturer in government at Christopher Newport University.
  • Lee Vogler, a member of Danville City Council who in 2012 at age 24 was the youngest person ever elected to that position.
  • Kristine Artello, J.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Criminal Justice at the Wilder School who previously worked as a social worker-attorney.

In videotaped remarks, VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., said it’s appropriate that Governor Wilder was leading this discussion.

“His leadership and unwavering insistence on conversation and action around subjects that are difficult have positively changed the Commonwealth of Virginia,” he said. “I’m so grateful for his leadership.”