The last of two University of Mary Washington-hosted public debates between candidates for local elected office this fall will take place this week. Tara Durant (R), Monica Gary (I) and Joel Griffin (D) will vie for the District 27 Virginia State Senate seat on Wednesday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m., in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium.

The venue was updated due to the large turnout for the first debate, held earlier this month, when Joshua Cole (D) and Lee Peters III (R) faced off for Virginia’s 65th District House of Delegates seat in the Weatherly Wing of UMW’s Seacobeck Hall.

“I am delighted that the local candidates have agreed to participate in this important community service,” said Professor of Political Science and Center for Leadership and Media Studies Director Stephen Farnsworth, who will moderate the hourlong debates. “Candidates standing side by side to discuss current policy challenges provides vital opportunities for voters to compare the alternatives offered on the ballot.”

The debates are being hosted by Mary Washington’s Student Government Association (SGA). They are co-sponsored by the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, The Free Lance-Star and the League of Women Voters of the Fredericksburg Area. Farnsworth, along with fellow UMW Professor of Political Science Rosalyn Cooperman, who chairs the department; WFVA Radio News Director Ted Schubel; and a representative from The Free Lance-Star will ask questions of the candidates. Audience members will be able to submit questions for consideration before the start of the events. Read more.