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The Department of Communication’s John R. Park Debate Society Announces 2016 Debate Series

The John R. Park Debate Society announced today it is again joining with the ABU Education Fund, an affiliate of Alliance for a Better Utah, to host Utah’s only legislative debates of the 2016 election cycle. This biennial debate series is an opportunity for leaders to engage with the public and express their views before the upcoming general elections.

The debate series also hopes to offer a state school board district debate and a gubernatorial debate.

Debate invitations have been extended to the following races:

  • Governor of Utah - Governor Gary Herbert and Mr. Michael Weinholtz
  • House District 34 - Karen Kwan and Macade Jensen
  • House District 38 - Charles Henderson and Eric Hutchings
  • House District 44 - Bruce Cutler and Christine Passey
  • House District 49 - Robert Spendlove and Zach Robinson
  • State School Board District 11 - Lisa Cummins and Erin Preston  

Debates will be held in-district and will be scheduled for one hour, from 6:30pm - 7:30pm, followed by a half-hour “Candidate Meetand-Greet.” Debates will be streamed live and will be broadcast on public radio. Updated details will be provided as they are finalized.

Josh Kanter, board chair and founder of the ABU Education Fund, made the following statement ahead of the planned debates:

“Robust political speech and debate is a key element of a well-functioning democracy. As more of our collective focus increasingly centers around presidential and national politics, the ABU Education Fund is committed to ensuring that our local and state politicians are provided a platform where their viewpoints can be heard and weighed by their constituents and we are excited to partner again with the prestigious John R. Park Debate Society of the University of Utah.”

Director of the John R. Park Debate Society, Michael Middleton, added:

“We are thrilled to again partner with the ABU Education Fund to host these debates. Not only do they provide an outstanding learning opportunity for the graduate and undergraduate students involved in their production, they also help to sustain the John R. Park Debate Society’s commitment to the role of open dialogue and debate as a cornerstone of democracy and informed political participation.”

For more information as it is available, visit:

Last Updated: 9/20/21