Democratic Congressman Jared Polis and his Republican challenger George Leing held a lively, relatively good-natured debate Tuesday in the humanities building on CU’s campus.
It was the pair’s second debate of the day; Leing joked earlier in the day that he sees Polis more than his wife.
The rules for the debate, which was moderated by Visiting Professor of Conservative Thought Bradley Birzer, were that each candidate had two minutes to respond to a question, with one-minute rebuttals.
Appropriately for the setting, the primary issue in the debate was how to make college more affordable.
Polis said student loans shouldn’t be a profit center for the government and called education finance reform “one of my main areas of focus in Congress.” “This needs a national response,” he said. “College should be more affordable for everybody.”
Leing agreed. “There’s no reason that [student loans] should be a profit center while students are struggling to pay their loans,” he said. But he also said it’s hard for schools to cut back on expenses while making sure the education students receive is adequate.
Leing mentioned the problems students have getting jobs after college. He said supporting businesses and putting them in a position to hire recent graduates would help remedy the situation.
Polis said there should be an increase in dual-enrollment classes, to help offset expensive college tuition, and that students should be able to graduate high school with an associate’s degree, if possible.
“There are creative ways where we can make this less expensive,” Leing said. “There are smarter ways we can be thinking about to make this more affordable.”
“Investments in human potential are the best investments we can make as a society,” Polis said.
The debate was hosted by CU’s College Democrat and College Republican organizations, which also provided many of the questions.
“I thought it was a good way to get the students involved,” said junior political science major Javier Mabrey, communications director for the College Democrats.
Junior communications major Samantha Sharpe, the vice president of the College Republicans, said, “I think it went well. There’s a lot of people here.”
Both Mabrey and Sharpe said they thought both candidates did well, but they thought their respective party’s candidate did better.
Contact CU Independent Breaking News Editor Sam Klomhaus at Samuel.Klomhaus@Colorado.edu