MSA candidates face off in debate

Debate themes ranged from candidates’ experience to MSA awareness.

by Luke Feuerherm

Candidates for Minnesota Student Association president and vice president gathered Tuesday night in front of a patchwork crowd comprised mostly of campaign teams to debate. Vice presidential candidates used their hour of debates to attack the record of presidential incumbent Paul Strain and new running mate Paul Buchel. BuchelâÄôs opposition rarely passed on the opportunity to rebut his statements and consistently challenged his record, including bringing the resolution to support the Social Host Ordinance to MSA forum. The challenges came predominantly from vice presidential candidates Brandon Cofield and Mandi Stebbins. âÄúIt wasnâÄôt a planned attack by any means,âÄù said vice presidential candidate Brandon Cofield when asked about his debate tactics. âÄú[Buchel] made a lot of pitches about what [theyâÄôve] done. I want to know what [theyâÄôre] going to do.âÄù After a brief intermission, the debates opened to presidential candidates and Strain went on the offensive, passionately tapping the table when addressing the scant audience. Strain set off early by immediately rebutting presidential candidate Sarah Shook on what she has accomplished as ranking representative to the Board of Regents and Andrew Wagner on his lack of experience in MSA. Themes at the debate ranged from candidatesâÄô experience to their plans to raise awareness of MSA. At one point, the platform-driven debates were interrupted when presidential candidate Cortez Riley left his seat at the debate table to give a speech at the edge of the stage, which he concluded with a Mahatma Gandhi quote. Following TuesdayâÄôs All Campus Elections Commission-sponsored debate, candidates made their way to the second debates of the evening, sponsored by the Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow. Elections for MSA president and vice president will take place April 5-7.