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House candidates to debate on campus

October 24, 2000

Gretchen Whitmer and Bill Hollister will bring their stances to campus for a debate Wednesday.

Democrat Whitmer and Republican Hollister, who are battling for the 70th District state House seat, will meet at the Radiology Building’s auditorium during a 4 p.m. forum.

The debate is sponsored by the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. The candidates are vying to replace Okemos Democrat Laura Baird, who can’t seek the seat again because of term limits.

The 70th District seat includes MSU.

Dan Curran, Whitmer’s campaign manager, said viewers can expect the discussion to focus on health care and an increase of funding to MSU.

“Funding has been a hot topic around the campus,” Curran said of the recently approved budget that allocates more money per student to research institutions Wayne State University and the University of Michigan than to MSU.

“We can expect to hear about what the Legislature can do to increase the amount of state dollars that go to the university.”

Curran also expected the debate to avoid mud slinging - a common theme so far in the campaign between Hollister, an East Lansing businessman, and Whitmer, an East Lansing-based attorney.

‘“The other debates have gone well,” Curran said. “Both candidates have engaged in debating the issues and avoided personal attacks.”

Hollister said he hopes for a good student turnout at Wednesday’s forum, and said students add excitement to debates.

“It is vitally important that students become involved in the political process,” Hollister said. “Michigan State is an essential part of the 70th.”

Hollister, involved in a heated race with Whitmer, said he also expects Wednesday’s debate to focus on health care.

“You need to stay with this debate so you don’t end up with elderly voters dictating the kind of government you’re going to pay for 25 years from now,” he said. “We want everyone to have health care, and must question who’s going to pay for it.”

Bill Ballenger, the editor and publisher of the Lansing-based newsletter Inside Michigan Politics, will moderate the forum. The hour-long debate will include four pre-arranged questions to each candidate. There will then be a question-and-answer session for audience members.

Whitmer and Hollister will meet again in a State News-sponsored debate at 8 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Kellogg Center’s Lincoln Room.

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