September 20, 2007
A QUEST FOR AN HISTORIC FIRST
Clark College of Vancouver and the Metropolitan Exposition Recreation Commission (MERC) of Portland expand their efforts
to bring the first ever presidential debate to the Pacific Northwest
VANCOUVER, Wash. – With a decision expected in mid-October, Clark College of Vancouver and the Metropolitan Exposition Recreation Commission (MERC) of Portland are expanding their efforts to bring the first ever presidential debate to the Pacific Northwest.
Clark College President Robert K. Knight said, “We have received outstanding support on behalf of our bid. Our steering committee members include Congressman Brian Baird, Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard and Jim Jacks, Southwest Washington representative for Governor Chris Gregoire. We received a letter of support from George R. Boggs, president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). And all nine members of our Washington State legislative delegation signed a letter of support – that’s unprecedented.”
Knight noted that, if the bid is successful, “It would mark the first time that a presidential debate has been sponsored by a community college.”
Mark Kirchmeier, Project Director for the Presidential Debate bid, said, “The Pacific Northwest is the sole American region never to have hosted a debate. This is the only application in recent years, and perhaps the only one in debate commission history, from a metropolitan region representing two states.”
According to Knight and Kirchmeier, the Oregon Convention Center would host the debate, with Clark College providing the focal point for a rich “Debate Month” of national-level speakers, symposia and Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) “Debate Watch” events for students from throughout the metropolitan Vancouver-Portland area.
Knight added, “The student leadership of Clark College is energized about the many possibilities that a presidential debate brings. They -- and the college -- are committed to providing outstanding opportunities for Clark students and other students throughout our region.”
The Commission on Presidential Debates is expected to announce the debate sites shortly after their Oct. 15 or Oct. 22 board meeting.