It’s rare to see a political forum these days that is a true debate, stays civil, and focuses on issues that actually mater to voters.
But New Mexico First and the state’s public television stations hosted debates in each congressional district this year that accomplished just that.
The debates were moderated by ABC Newsman Sam Donaldson. He is, quite simply, a pro, and by his very presence the debates were more civil. Donaldson did a great job of keeping candidates on topic when necessary, giving them leeway to respond to each other when they wanted it, and steering the debates into productive discussions that led to clear contrasts between the candidates.
But even before that, the format designed by New Mexico First created an environment conducive to productive debates. Panels of volunteer citizens from all walks of life got together hours before each debate to discuss issues and formulate questions.
That led to thoughtful, policy-based questions.
The combination of thoughtful questions and Donaldson’s insistence that candidates answer the questions led to more productive debates than any others we’ve see on television in New Mexico this election cycle.
New Mexico First and the state’s public television stations are to be commended for that. Thanks to the voters who took the time to formulate and ask questions. And thanks to the candidates for participating.
You can watch the debates here:
1st Congressional District
3rd Congressional District
The 2nd Congressional District debate was held Wednesday evening, and archived video isn’t yet online. When it is, I’ll post it here.
Update, 1:30 p.m.
Here’s video of the 2nd District debate: