Candidates reflect on matters discussed in the Election Simulation Debate

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On October 27, students gathered in the auditorium for this year’s Election Simulation debate during 7th band. The student candidates discussed issues including housing, lowering crime rates, informed investments, and the decline of the MTA. 

The AP U.S. Government and Politics seniors made their arguments based on the policies of the candidates they were portraying. Answering questions surrounding issues NYC is facing, each candidate was given 30 seconds to deliver their opening and closing statements, one minute to answer the moderators’ questions, and one minute for a rebuttal.

The seniors handling the election simulation radio show determined the questions asked to each set of candidates. “We went through the questions together and chose what we thought were the strongest ones,” said Social Studies teacher and Εlection Simulation Advisor Jaime Baranoff, who teaches the class. “We tried to balance out the topics so there would be a wide range of issues discussed at the debate.”

Many of the students representing a candidate agreed that the issues discussed in the questions were applicable towards NYC’s current state and the responsibilities of the real candidates.

Chris Gilson, who represented James Reilly, the Republican candidate for District 23 City Council, said, “The questions were accurate. Being from the district my candidate is running for, I know firsthand the transportation issues we face,” when referencing a question about the decline of the MTA and how it could be improved.

“I thought the debate question related to community safety was reflective of the role of Public Advocate and well-suited to the issues that have been raised and exposed by the pandemic,” said Amit Sewnauth, who played Democratic candidate for Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, in response to the question he answered concerning complaints about the NYPD and working with community organizations. 

Gabriela Quizhpi, who acted as District 22 City Council candidate Tiffany Cabán, responded to a question in regards to the issue of affordable housing: “In a city where there is so much financial insecurity, which was worsened because of COVID-19, I think it was important to talk about housing as a topic linked to financial insecurity. It was nice to bring awareness to the THHS community of something that impacts so many people.”

The challenge, however, that most candidates confessed to facing, was time constraints. Samuel Tsai, who represents Republican candidate Yu-Ching Pai for City Council District 20, said, “I would want to make the rebuttals longer for each candidate, as this would allow them to show what they really know. I think this would make it clearer who the winner of the debate would be and would give the students a better idea of who to vote for when the time comes.” 

“Since through the debate you’re trying to show voters why you’re the better candidate, it’s crucial for your response to be better than your opponent’s,” said Colin Bobocea, who is the Election Simulation counterpart for Republican candidate Brad Lander for NYC Comptroller.

Photo by Kate Romero, Photography Editor