Meadows and Rogers face-off at WCU

Mark Meadows and Hayden Rogers, candidates for US Congress in North Carolina’s 11th district, faced off in their final debate at Western Carolina University on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

Education was an important topic at this specific debate as much of the audience was made up of students. The question on everyone’s mind, and a question that was asked by moderator and New 13 reporter, Russ Bowen, was the candidate’s stance on the federal government in education.

Meadows believes money for education should be decided on the state level, but did not explain the specifics. Rogers was much more relatable to students knowing that many of the students in the audience would not be watching the debate if it were not for their federal student loans.

“As a graduate student of WCU, I was surprised that Hayden Rogers knew that 73 percent of students at Western are on scholarships, Pell grants, or student loans,” said Democratic Party worker Andy Miller. “I think students that were at the debate will remember that the candidate that will stand up for them is Hayden Rogers.”

Rogers took a beating when asked why he did not endorse President Barack Obama. He said he wanted voters to focus on what he would do for them as their congressman, not his personal political stances. Rogers also would not answer if he liked or disliked what the Obama administration has been doing the past four years.

“I understand why,” wrote Jon Ostendorff in his article for the Asheville Citizen- Times, Meadows Wins the Debate. “His district is extremely conservative. Most people did not vote for Obama in 2008 and they probably won’t this year. As a Democrat, it’s hard for Rogers to stake himself out for Obama.”

Meadows argued that the voters deserved to know who Rogers is going to support.

Rogers drove home the idea of mountain values many times throughout the debate. He used this to his advantage when promoting himself as a better man for the job.

“I don’t need a GPS to know where I’m going or who I’m talking to,” said Rogers in regards to Meadows being from Florida.

Other topics included Obamacare, unemployment rates, nuclear weapons in Iran, and how each candidate plans to help Western North Carolina.

“The debate gave students the opportunity to see beyond the talking points, the websites, and the hearsay,” said Student Body President Alecia Page. “The panel posed some very tough questions that forced candidates to be frank about what matters to them, and it really helped me decided which candidate will do the most to protect my future, my campus, and my region.”