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VBA Prepares for Gubernatorial Debate; PBS' Woodruff to Moderate

Monday, May 1, 2017   (0 Comments)
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VBA to present first 2017 Virginia gubernatorial debate

Announces Judy Woodruff's return as moderator

The Virginia Bar Association will present the traditional first debate of qualified statewide candidates for Virginia governor. The event will occur in conjunction with the association’s 127th Summer Meeting. This year’s debate, which again will be open to the public, is planned for July 22 at the Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia. Participants will be determined in the June primaries.

“We are excited to again offer the first opportunity for the candidates for the office of Virginia’s governor to meet face-to-face in sharing their vision for the commonwealth,” said Steuart Thomas, president-elect of The Virginia Bar Association and partner with the Staunton-based firm of Timberlake, Smith, Thomas & Moses, P.C.

Judy Woodruff to moderate third debate for VBAJudy Woodruff, co-anchor and managing editor of “PBS NewsHour,” will reprise her role as moderator for the debate. The award-winning journalist previously moderated the VBA-organized U.S. Senate debate in 2014 and the gubernatorial debate in 2013. Both were streamed live and archived online by PBS staff and were covered by the traditional and digital news media, making the event accessible to thousands more citizens of the commonwealth.

“The VBA – a nonpartisan organization -- has sponsored debates between candidates for statewide political office since 1985,” Thomas said. “With large audiences and strong news media coverage, the VBA debate series has earned its status as the premier forum for candidates.”

Virginia is one of only two states in the nation with an election for governor in 2017. The other is New Jersey. Because these campaigns for top state offices are the first to follow the presidential election, interest tends to be high as they are viewed as a bellwether on political sentiment. In fact, the Twitter hashtag #vbadebate in 2013 became a top 20 worldwide trending topic on the day of the gubernatorial campaign event.

Debates help fulfill The Virginia Bar Association’s commitment to serving the public and the legal profession. By sponsoring debates, the VBA seeks to educate citizens, including members of the VBA, about candidate views on issues and to stimulate voter interest and participation in the election process.

About The Virginia Bar Association

The VBA is a nonpartisan organization that does not endorse, support or oppose political candidates. The VBA’s intention is that its debates in no way promote or advance one candidate over others.

The VBA is the state’s first and largest statewide voluntary organization of lawyers and judges. As the independent voice of the Virginia lawyer, it advances the highest ideals of the profession through advocacy and volunteer service.


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