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College Republicans and Young Democrats Hold "Pizza & Politics" Townhall

By Kelson Howerton
On April 17, 2018

Concord University’s two political organizations, the College Republicans and Young Democrats, will be holding a bipartisan Pizza & Politics Townhall Thursday, April 19 in the State Room of the Student Center.


Currently featuring 14 state and local candidates, the townhall will kick off at 5 p.m. with a meet and greet, allowing attendees to speak with and get to know the candidates. As the name suggests, the event will also offer free pizza and refreshments to all in attendance.


The candidates include those vying for positions in the U.S. Senate race to the House of Delegates. For the U.S. Senate race, candidates Paula Swearengin and Jack Newborough will be in attendance, and incumbent Joe Manchin via video appearance. From the Congressional race, Paul E Davis and Rupie Phillips will be in attendance, and Richard Ojeda via video appearance. West Virginia House of Delegates candidates that will be in attendance include 27th District candidates Lacy Watson, Eric Porterfield, and Zane Lawnhorn; 28th District Candidates Sandy Shaw and Andrew Evans; 29th District candidate Brandon Steele; and 32nd District candidates Eliott Pritt and Selina Vickers.


Concord student Sumer Cave has been organizing the townhall alongside the College Republicans and Young Democrats and is proud of the event they have put together.


“We’ve spent weeks composing questions to ask at the debate, had multiple meetings between the two groups and myself, and contacted a lot of candidates,” Cave said. “We have a pretty great candidate lineup.”


With that said, Cave states that getting candidates to join the event was a challenge. “It required a lot of patience, emails, voicemails, and finally calling at the right time,” Cave said. “Most I have personally invited were very excited, and only a few were unable to attend due to prior obligations, which is completely understandable.”


At 5:30 p.m., the first of several candidate debates will begin, starting with the Senate candidates and then moving to the Congressional candidates and House candidates. The debates will be moderated by Cave, College Republicans president Jack Garwood, and Young Democrats president Zachary Adkins, and will cover issues such as medical and recreational marijuana, reproductive rights, healthcare, the opioid crisis, and jobs in the state. There will be a 10- to 15-minute break in between every debate to give audience members the chance to ask the candidates questions directly.


At 8:45, the event will wrap up, concluding at 9 p.m.


Cave encourages all to attend the townhall, especially students and young voters. “I think having large community debates gives voters and younger demographics a leg to stand on,” Cave says. “Because, instead of just voting [Republican] or [Democrat] because you see that little symbol on a sign, you actually get to learn about their histories, views, & policies. You get to be able to personally align yourself with a candidate and really get to know them enough to vote for them. It’s really important to stay informed instead of blindly voting at the ballot because of party affiliation.”


Likewise, College Republicans president Jack Garwood believes the event will be a good way to learn what these candidates really believe. “It’ll be worth going to, I think, regardless of what party you’re for, Republican, Democrat or Independent,” Garwood says. “[It] will be a good opportunity to meet the candidates and hear what they’re all about.”


“Pretty much anything anyone says in the media can get twisted, and there’s nothing better than hearing it from the candidate themselves,” Garwood added.


The townhall is completely free to the public, and is welcoming students, faculty, and community members alike. For more information on the townhall, contact Sumer Cave at

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