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Ask the Next Governor

Thursday night forum features taped student questions for candidates

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Watch snippets from students and candidatesdiscussing issues in the Massachusetts governor’s race. Video courtesy ofHoward Gotlieb Archival Research Center. Graphic by Daniel Essrow (CAS’10, COM’10)

When it comes to political issues facing Massachusetts, you can ask your professors questions. Or you can ask the next governor. On the theory that democracy makes a great classroom, the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center is sponsoring an event tonight featuring taped questions from students for the Massachusetts gubernatorial contenders.

The candidates provided their answers (on tape as well). And at tonight’s gubernatorial forum at Metcalf Hall, a live panel of experts will dissect their responses for the audience. The Massachusetts gubernatorial race is one of the most closely watched political contests playing out around the country this fall.

Nine students were filmed asking their questions, which were then shown to the four candidates in taped interviews conducted in late summer by John Carroll, a College of Communication assistant professor of mass communication, who will moderate tonight’s discussion. The candidates are Democratic Governor Deval Patrick, Republican Charlie Baker, Independent Tim Cahill (CAS’84), current state treasurer, and Green Party nominee Jill Stein.

Carroll says the idea for the forum arose because “the Gotlieb Center is dedicated to providing students with a deeper understanding of both history and current events. We wanted to start by addressing issues of concern to students, then broaden the conversation to present a more comprehensive perspective on the governor’s race.”

Students quizzed the candidates on issues from helping people burdened by college loan debt to green energy to providing jobs for artists in Massachusetts. The students chose the topics, according to Carroll. “The candidates were extremely generous with their time,” he says, “and they were uniformly impressed with the range and relevance of the questions the students asked them.”

Members of the panel analyzing the candidate responses are Boston Phoenix political reporter David Bernstein, WBUR political analyst Todd Domke, Bay State Banner publisher Mel Miller, political strategist Natasha Perez, Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi (COM’75), and Thomas Whalen, a College of General Studies associate professor of social sciences.

Educating the Bay State’s Next Governor will be held at the GSU’s Metcalf Hall, 775 Commonwealth Ave., second floor, starting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 23.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 2. Polls in Massachusetts will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

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