Congressional debate to tackle economy, other pressing issues

Kerith Strano Taylor and Glenn Thompson are set to face off in a debate hosted by WPSU on Oct. 15.
Kerith Strano Taylor and Glenn Thompson are set to face off in a debate hosted by WPSU on Oct. 15. Centre Daily Times, file

The economy and job prospects will be at the forefront of an upcoming congressional debate held at the Penn State campus.

U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Howard Township, the incumbent for Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District, and Democratic candidate Kerith Strano Taylor will cover pressing national issues during the “Race for the 5th” U.S. House debate hosted by WPSU Penn State at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 at its studios in Innovation Park.

Taylor lost the race for Congress in 2014 to Thompson.

“We’re trying to give voters the opportunity to learn more about the candidates, what their stance is on the most important issues facing the state and the country, and help them on Nov. 8 to make an informed decision,” said Patty Satalia, WPSU senior producer and debate moderator.

The public is encouraged to submit their questions for the debate, which will follow a conventional format. Satalia said each candidate is permitted to ask one question, too.

The debate will be broadcast on WPSU-TV and WPSU-FM, as well as streamed live on its website and Facebook page, WPSU Director of Broadcast Greg Petersen said.

As concerns about functional governments, terrorism and college affordability are voiced during the one-hour debate, Satalia said she expects audience members will begin differentiating between Thompson’s and Strano Taylor’s platforms.

Yet, she said Thompson “has an enormous advantage in terms of name recognition, money and party support.”

The incumbent is serving his fourth term as a congressman and is the co-chairman of the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus, aimed at ensuring a “well-educated and skilled workforce,” according to his website.

Strano Taylor is a family law attorney and has been a member of the Statewide Children’s Roundtable Initiative since its inception in 2006.

A U.S. Senate debate was originally scheduled for Thursday at University Park, but it was canceled after The McCourtney Institute for Democracy didn’t receive confirmation from both Republican Sen. Pat Toomey and Democratic candidate Katie McGinty.

Christopher Beem, the managing director at the institute, said the format would have been consistent with the Democratic primary debate held on campus in April.

Alison Kuznitz is a Penn State journalism student.