By Mike Moen, Prairie News Service
Throughout October, AARP North Dakota and Prairie Public Broadcasting team up to co-host a series of debates for various political races. And they’re hoping the participants will address concerns about topics important to voters age 50 and older.
Candidates for governor, state Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the state’s at-large congressional seat will face off in the series of debates. Josh Askvig, state director of AARP North Dakota, said they hope no one shies away from critical issues their members are very concerned about.
“How are they going to protect Social Security and Medicare for current and future generations?” asks Askvig. “What are they going to do about lowering skyrocketing prescription drug prices?”
He said based on feedback from AARP members, candidates will have trouble receiving support if they ignore these concerns.
The first event is this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. central time, and will cover the congressional race. All the debates will be broadcast live on Prairie Public’s TV and radio networks, and will stream live on its website and Facebook page.
The fall election comes just as the pandemic is ravaging states like North Dakota. Askvig said it’s reasonable to expect that will be part of the focus during these debates, and people wanting to know how it relates to healthcare challenges.
“We’ll let the moderators frame up the questions and how it works, but I would expect there will be questions about that,” said Askvig. “And we’re hopeful that they’ll talk about the impact that it’s had on older North Dakotans.”
The debate for school superintendent candidates is scheduled for October 16, and those running for governor will debate on October 21. That last event will be held a little later in the evening, starting at 8 p.m.