Jane Kim and Scott Wiener Announce Debate Structure for District 11 Race

New “Lincoln-Douglas” Debates Will Give Voters Opportunities to Hear from Both Candidates About Pressing Issues Facing Region and State

San Francisco, CA (January 21, 2016) – Today, State Senate District 11 candidates Jane Kim and Scott Wiener announced an agreement to hold six debates throughout the district before the June 7 primary. Following in the tradition of in-depth policy discussions going all the way back to the “Lincoln-Douglas” debates, this structure is intended to ensure voters hear from both candidates on the key issues of the day.

“Our region and our state are at a crossroads. With so many challenges before us, we wanted to be sure voters have a chance to hear where we stand on the issues facing not just our many neighborhoods but our entire district and our entire state,” said Jane Kim. “I’m excited for the chance to talk about how we can make sure our policies – and our state government – are working for us.”

"I look forward to a lively and substantive debate on the critical issues facing our city, region, and state, including housing affordability, the drought and climate change, education funding, healthcare access, and transportation. I see these six debates as a unique opportunity for our diverse neighborhoods to come together to discuss the issues affecting us all,” said Scott Wiener.

In a letter released today, the Kim and Wiener campaigns outlined their debate proposal (full letter below). The agreement includes:

  • A plan to hold six debates in different geographic areas
    • San Francisco Supervisorial Districts 1 and 2
    • Supervisorial Districts 4 and 7
    • Supervisorial Districts 3 and 6
    • Supervisorial Districts 5 and 8
    • Supervisorial Districts 9 and 10
    • Supervisorial District 11 and San Mateo County
  • The outline of each debate format, including length and media participation
  • The six different issues areas that must be covered in the questions in each debate to ensure the top issues facing State Senate District 11 residents are addressed

The letter will be sent to organizations that have expressed interest in or held debates in the past to begin bringing together host coalitions.

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Full text of letter:

With such complicated and difficult issues facing the Bay Area, this is precisely the moment when we need to hear from political candidates in a forum that gives the public a chance to ask key questions and gives the candidates a chance to address these questions and issues thoughtfully.

That’s why the Jane Kim and Scott Wiener for State Senate campaigns have agreed to jointly co-host 6 in-depth debates throughout the 11th State Senate District. The current schedule would be to host one debate within each of the following geographic areas:

  • San Francisco Supervisorial Districts 1 and 2
  • Supervisorial Districts 4 and 7
  • Supervisorial Districts 3 and 6
  • Supervisorial Districts 5 and 8
  • Supervisorial Districts 9 and 10
  • Supervisorial District 11 and San Mateo County

Currently, most candidate debates are hosted by political clubs, neighborhood groups and advocacy organizations. While there is a great strength in this system in which candidates are asked to speak in-depth on highly specific issues, the challenges can be that city, regional and statewide issues are not always fully addressed in-depth – and the audiences can be small.

Our hope is to work with as many political clubs, neighborhood groups and advocacy organizations as possible to co-host with the two campaigns these 6 larger debates, so that the candidates can speak to both specific city and state-wide issues at each debate.

Both campaigns have agreed to promote the debates through their own networks or supporters and to jointly promote to all registered voters via email, social media and phone calls in order to build substantial audiences for these in-depth discussions of key issues. Representatives from our campaigns will reach out to the Democratic clubs within each area to schedule a date and location, invite other area organizations and media organizations to co-host and determine a moderator.

Further, the candidates have agreed to the following with regards to the format of each debate:

  • 90-minutes in length with five-minute opening statements, two-minute closing statements, 90-second responses to each question with both candidates allowed a response to each question, and an automatic 30-second rebuttal if one candidate directly challenges the record or positions of the other candidate.
  • Each debate will be videotaped and made available to the broader public.
  • Each debate will include both specific questions asked by the audience that day or evening and core questions on six topics:
    • How will you make the district more affordable
    • How will you address environmental challenges?
    • How will you make the district safer?
    • How will you address homelessness
    • How will you address other quality of life issues, such as transportation
    • How will you create more economic opportunities?
  • Questions will be chosen by a moderator jointly agreed upon by each campaign.

We believe this process will allow us to have substantive debates and will provide voters with real insight on the views of the respective candidates and thank you in advance for joining us in moving this conversation forward.

Jeff Sparks at the Wiener for Senate campaign will be the point of contact for the following districts: 4 and 7; 3 and 6; 5 and 8. Jeff@scottwiener.com.
Julie Edwards at the Kim for Senate campaign will be the point of contact for the following districts: 1 and 2; 3 and 6; 11 and San Mateo County. julie@storefrontpolitical.com.


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