Gubernatorial candidates to debate on campus

Four Democratic primary candidates for Texas governor will kick off their 2010 campaigns today with a debate at the university.

The TCU Democrats and the Tarrant County Young Democrats worked together to present the first Gubernatorial Candidates Forum for the election. The featured candidates include Tom Schieffer, Kinky Friedman, Felix Alvarado and Hank Gilbert. In addition, Barbara Ann Radnofsky, candidate for Texas attorney general, agreed to attend as a guest speaker for the event.

According to the Tarrant County Young Democrats Web site, the forum will feature a debate over current issues. Students are invited to participate. The event is scheduled in the Brown-Lupton University Union ballroom from 7 to 9 p.m., but seating will be limited.

Greg Snow, president of the TCU Democrats and social director of the Tarrant County Young Democrats, wrote in an e-mail that the organizations came up with the idea in an effort to energize the democratic youth vote in Tarrant County.

“We wanted this forum to be about the issues that are affecting the youth in Texas,” Snow said.

The opportunity to bring a candidate like Schieffer to the university is important given his lifetime achievements, Snow said. Schieffer served three terms in the Texas House of Representatives and has served as the U.S. ambassador to Australia and Japan. While serving as the current ambassador to Japan, Schieffer received the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.

“I hope TCU students can learn many things from Ambassador Schieffer while he’s at TCU,” Snow said.

Students may submit questions to [email protected] for approval. Students whose questions are selected must be present at the event or alternates will be given the opportunity to ask their questions, according to the Tarrant County Young Democrats Web site.

Snow said he hoped students would be informed on current issues related to Texas government. He said the forum would help students make informed voting decisions.

“We hope to engage them in primary contests, and not just in the general election,” Snow said.

Here is a look at the candidates:

̼Felix Alvarado РVeteran of the Air Force, where he attained the rank of Chief Master Sergeant

̼Kinky Friedman РPeace Corps alumnus, lead singer of The Texas Jewboys, 2006 Texas governor candidate

̼Hank Gilbert Рrancher, former schoolteacher, 2006 agriculture commissioner candidate

̼Tom Schieffer Рlawyer, U.S. ambassador to Japan, former Texas legislator