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The Vice-Presidential Debate

Last week, in this space, I criticized the first Presidential debate as being neither a “debate” nor “Presidential.”

This week was a bit different. I thought that Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris had a generally civil, though partisan, discussion about the issues.

One reason for this, in my opinion, is that both candidates have had substantial governmental experience. They realize that after the election there is a complex and demanding job that needs to be handled.

Vice President Pence was a congressman for over a decade and then served as Governor of Indiana for a four-year term before being elected Vice President of the United States. Senator Harris served as District Attorney in San Francisco and as Attorney General of the State of California before being elected to the U.S. Senate. Both individuals have solid governmental experience and it showed in the debate.

Both also have good educational backgrounds. Mike Pence attended Hanover College on the Ohio River in Indiana. He then graduated from law school in Indianapolis. Harris got her undergraduate degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and her law degree at the University of California. Harris also had the interesting experience of going to high school in Montreal, Canada because her mother had moved there to take up a teaching position at McGill University.

Some people think that it is immaterial if or where people went to school. However, as a college and law school graduate myself, I believe that having a good educational background is important when you are involved in government service, especially at this level.

As to the debate itself, I don’t think there really was a “winner” or a “loser.” They both were well-prepared and represented their views. Harris probably had more to lose because she is not as well-known as the vice president. However, she was tough and strong and certainly lost no ground as a candidate.

The debate was heated, many times statements were made rather than questions answered, and time limitations were sometimes ignored. Both defended their running mates. It was a feisty performance. Yet, the public had a chance to see both candidates in a face-to-face exchange.

I doubt that many minds were changed because of the debate, but each campaign staked out their positions as to what is on the mind of the American people.

“Ho-hum” some might say: “Who cares about the Vice-Presidential candidate anyway?” But, this year is different. We have two candidates running for President who are both in their seventies. When you get that old, things can happen — I know because I just went through my seventies! God willing, either Donald Trump or Joe Biden will fulfill their term if elected. However, this year, because of the age of the Presidential candidates, the possibility is greater that a vice president could become President. Thus, it is good to know something about them before we go to the polls.

Rolland Kidder is a Stow president.

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