Vail Symposium presents The Great Divide Debate Oct. 26 in Edwards | VailDaily.com

Vail Symposium presents The Great Divide Debate Oct. 26 in Edwards

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EDWARDS — The distinctive character of a growing millennial voting population is stirring the interest of pundits, politicians and political experts as they seek to understand the impact young voters will have on the election this year and in years to come.

However, in order to make proper inferences, engage with pertinent issues and employ proper political strategy, communities and political leadership must first understand what sways this young demographic and how it compares to the time-honored political pressure points of its adult counterpart.

"We thought the best way to look at this issue, one that drastically affects other issues, would be to go straight to the source," said Kris Sabel, executive director of the Vail Symposium. "We are going to put young people and those from an older generation on stage, ask them questions and have them debate with one another. This way, the audience can compare their answers objectively and understand what influences and motivations exist among each generation."

The program is being called The Great Divide Debate. The Vail Symposium will host the debate on Wednesday at the Edwards Interfaith Chapel in Edwards. It is free to attend, with a $10 suggested donation to the Vail Symposium.

Representing the adults will be lawyer Rohn Robbins, media voice Richard Carnes, women's empowerment advocate Susie Kincade and community member Mary Claire Silva.

"Sadly, my generation, those born in the '60s, has contributed little more to the American political process than a continuation of the selfish, me-first approach of our fathers," Carnes said. "Rose-colored hindsight is fine for talk shows, but the reality is the political process has evolved with the onslaught of new technologies, and my generation needs to either evolve with it or get the hell out of the way."

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Student representatives include Camyrn Woodworth, of Battle Mountain High School; Carmen Baden, of Vail Christian High School; Chloe Doctor, of Vail Mountain School; Parker Labine, of Eagle Valley High School; and Katie Hancock, of Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy.

"I believe that this generation has become more aware of the election and political issues than ever before" Hancock said. "We have been raised with information at our fingertips. Youth now have the ability to connect with political issues on a virtual level at any time. This is an opportunity that could be used by American youth to hold out government accountable for the change and outcomes that we want."

Moderated by newly elected Minturn Mayor Matt Scherr, the event aims to compare the ideology and passions of a student representative from each of the valley's high schools with those of local adults in what Sabel promises to be an insightful debate.

"I think people who are older have more of a template in their minds already of liberal or conservative," said Dave Cope, a teacher at Battle Mountain High School with 20 years of experience teaching U.S. history. "I'm not sure if young voters do. I think they are going to be more unaffiliated and more approachable on issues."

If you go …

What: The Great Divide Debate, with moderator Minturn Mayor Matt Scherr and local high school students and their adult counterparts.

When: Wednesday, Oct. 26; 6:30 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. program.

Where: Edwards Interfaith Chapel, 32138 U.S. Highway 6, Edwards.

Cost: Free, $10 suggested donation.

More information: No registration is required; just show up. Find more information online at http://www.vailsymposium.org.

Debate questions

Here’s a snippet of questions that will be asked at the debate.

• What are the two most important issues for you in this presidential election and why?

• Some have said the media has too much influence in the elections; some say they are not probing enough. What is your view?

• If you believe in human-caused climate change, does it concern you or affect your thinking or behavior related to candidates you support or would vote for?

• In evaluating the candidates, what qualities are most important to you, character, experience or policy/policy solutions?

• How important is it that a candidate provides clarity on how programs will be paid for?

• What do you believe about the need for a stronger military?