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Liberty hosts 6th Congressional District debate

October 17, 2012 : By Drew Menard/Liberty University News Service

Democrat challenger Andy Schmookler

The Liberty University School of Law Supreme Courtroom served as a debate forum for the Virginia 6th Congressional District as U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Democrat challenger Andy Schmookler squared off in their third and final debate before a crowd of about 175 Tuesday night.

Liberty’s law school and Helms School of Government, along with Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce sponsored the debate. Shawn Akers, dean of the School of Government, moderated the debate, wherein a panel of local media members asked questions to the candidates in revolving fashion. The panelists included Mari White of WLNI Talk Radio, Tim Saunders of WDBJ News 7, Noreen Turyn of ABC 13 WSET, Libby Fitzgerald of WVTF Public Radio, and Logan Anderson of The News & Advance.

“We (at Liberty) are very proud to take part in events like this that brings the people of our region in contact with their candidates and their elected officials,” Akers said.

U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va., 6th District)

Questions ranged from the national economy and women’s rights to what each candidate would do specifically in the Lynchburg community in regards to energy, education, the economy, and transportation.

The highlight of the evening was when a question about pay equality for women was used as a platform to address women’s health and abortion issues. The relatively quiet crowd cheered loudest when Goodlatte announced he is proud of his pro-life stance after stating there are the rights of two at stake in this issue, that of the mother and the unborn child, and the government must find balance defending the two. This was in response to Schmookler garnering applause after saying women should be trusted to make their own decisions.

After the debate the candidates took time to meet with those in attendance, addressing concerns, fielding questions, and greeting supporters.