On Wednesday, April 26 and Tuesday, May 2, Cathedral Prep hosted both the GOP and Democratic mayoral debates in the David H. Bowes Auditorium for the first time. Both candidates from the Republican side and all seven of the Democrats attended, drawing roughly 3,000 (total combined of both online viewers and actual people in attendance) spectators between the two events. It turned out to be a huge success and truly impacted the community, supplying the public with specific policies of each individual candidate.
Prep seniors Will Lewis, Doug Spizarny, and Peter Bloomstine acted as the catalysts for the whole planning process. They also served as moderators and provided the questions and topics that were covered in each debate. Questions ranged from posts on any of the candidate’s social media accounts to referring back to interviews that they were previously involved in. It forced the candidates to think on their feet and showcase their instinctual political expertise to those watching. The debates were split into three main categories: education, crime, and economics. Audience questions were also taken into consideration and answered. This was a great way to get involved with the Erie community and possibly impact the city for years to come.
Republican John Persinger reflected on what becoming the next mayor would mean to him: “Being the next mayor is a great opportunity to lead the city out of the decline.”
Debate team co-Captain Doug Spizarny spoke of the importance of these events saying, “Whoever is elected mayor of the city really influences the policies and procedures that happen in not only the city itself, but the surrounding townships/municipalities.” He later concluded with “So whatever happens in the city of Erie really matters to everyone who lives in Erie county.”
This sent a urgent message to the public of the importance and value of the upcoming election. It is vital that Cathedral Prep students and other young people in the community stay involved and knowledgeable on the happenings in the city of which they call home.
Both debates were streamed live on Facebook and can be viewed on the Prep-Villa Facebook page or embedded below:
Alex Welz is a former senior-editor-in-chief of The Rambler as a member of the Cathedral Prep Class of 2018.