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GCHS students take on role of candidates

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“Do you want a Socialist world or a Mitt Romney world?” asked Mitt Romney last week at Grant County High School.
OK, maybe it’s wasn’t the real Mitt Romney, but rather Stephen Fightmaster, a senior at GCHS, who was portraying Romney in a mock presidential debate.
Fightmaster, along with five other students represented Romney, Pres. Barack Obama (Eric Mann), Dr. Jill Stein (Brittnie Seibert), Roseanne Barr (Sarah Kellam), Gov. Gary Johnson (Jacob Parker) and Stewart Alexander (Ben Shipp) and presented their political stance on a variety of issues.

The students researched their candidates and then represented their views during the debate on Nov. 2.

“The purpose of the debate is to raise awareness of national politics and raise voter registration. It’s not meant to be humorous or satirical,” Lindsay Duke, a social studies teacher at GCHS, told the students in the audience.

Each candidate was given two minutes to make an opening statement, followed by a question, answer and rebuttal period. Each was then given additional time for a closing statement.
Romney (Fightmaster) attacked Obama on his four years in office.
“With President Obama, it’s borrow, tax and spend. He does it more and more. When will it end?” Fightmaster asked.
Alexander (Shipp) proposed “turning back and giving to the 99 percent.” His platform boasted free education, social programs and health care.

Stein (Seibert), a member of the Green Party, said America could not “afford four more years of Wall Street bailouts.”
Johnson (Parker), the former governor of New Mexico and a member of the Libertarian Party, said “less government interference” was what the country needed.

Barr (Kellam), a member of the Peace and Freedom Party, said she understood the needs of the average American family.
“I love this country with all my heart and I’m concerned for my grandchildren’s future. I may not be one of the working class, but I’m for the working class,” Barr said.
Candidates responded to questions about immigration, the economy and education.

At times, the candidates’ answers drew laughs from the other students, especially when Johnson suggested the legalization of marijuana could fix a multitude of issues.

“I just don’t believe as Gov. Johnson does that legalizing marijuana is the answer to all of our country’s problems. It’s not the answer for immigration, the economy and especially education,” said Romney.
“No, marijuana is not my solution to education,” Johnson agreed.
Obama proposed he was the right candidate for “having someone fight for the little man.”

“If you believe helping those down on their luck first and if you believe in taking our country forward . . . If you believe we’re better off four years ago in the economy and foreign mess, you already know who to vote for,” Obama said.

Barr closed the debate by telling the students she would represent them in Washington.
“Think about what you want. What do you want for your grandchildren? Do you want someone who will represent you all? I’m for you all. I’ve said it 60 billion times today,” she said.
Following the debate, students were given ballots.
Romney won with 32 percent of the vote, while Stein pulled in 20 percent, followed by Obama with 17.5 percent, Barr with 13.5 percent, Johnson with 11 percent and Alexander with 5 percent.

The debate can be viewed on the Grant County Schools web site at www.grant.kyschools.us.