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DPAC to host Indiana debate

Nicole Michels | Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Notre Dame will host the second of three debates between three candidates competing to become the next governor of Indiana on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

Timothy Sexton, associate vice president for Public Affairs, said this gubernatorial debate is one of two formal debates between the candidates in the northern half of the state.

“All three of the candidates were actually from the southern part of the state, so two [of the three] debates are going to occur in the northern part – one in Fort Wayne and one here at Notre Dame,” Sexton said. “Part of the goal is to get the candidates known here in the northern part.”

Sexton said although the date selected by the Indiana Debate Commission is over Notre Dame’s fall break, he believes the event will generate a great turnout.

The debate will complement political events also being held on campus and build the current interest generated by the Forum and the upcoming presidential election.

“It fits in perfectly with the Forum,” Sexton said. “The fact that we were chosen this year is just wonderful because it does correlate so closely with the Forum; it’s a great opportunity to see the process in action.”

Sexton said the debate will build the already-strong relationship between Notre Dame and the governor’s office of Indiana.

“Not only with Governor Daniels but also with his predecessors, we’ve had very good relationships, and I think those relationships are evident in some of the things that are happening here at Notre Dame,” Sexton said. “When you look at the Midwest Institute for Nanoelectronics Discovery, Innovation Park, Harper Hall over at the Indiana University School of Medicine, all are examples of the University having a strong relationship down with the Governor’s office.”

The capacity of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center staff that coordinates large-scale events like the upcoming debate has strengthened the Center’s profile as a potential debate site, Sexton said.

“It gets to the point of needing someone on staff who will provide makeup for candidates because this will be televised, lighting, access for the news media that will be here, all those types of things have to be coordinated and I think it led very strongly to the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center being picked,” Sexton said. “The DeBartolo Performing Arts Center does a phenomenal job of hosting events – they’re well-tuned to do this type of event.”

Sexton said the gubernatorial debate is the second time in recent years when Notre Dame had been considered as a site for political debate.

“The Indiana debate commission had come to us a few years back to see if we wanted to be the host site of a Congressional debate … It didn’t work out at that point in time but they actually had come out and walked through the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and said ‘We loved it, we’d love in the future to come back to you,'” Sexton said.

Cooperation between the South Bend Chamber of Commerce and the Office of Public Affairs made this event possible, Sexton said.