Students quiz Senate candidates at Thursday forum


at LOCATION GOES HERE on Thursday, April 1, 2010. Photo by William Baldon

By Taylor Moak

UK students had a voice at an early morning forum at Keeneland Race Track on Thursday.

At a Lexington Forum event for Kentucky’s Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate, students from journalism professor Buck Ryan’s Discovery Seminar Program asked the candidates questions based on their research in advance of the forum.

The class, titled “Citizen Kentucky: Journalism and Democracy,” had to research and contact the candidates to get to know them better.

Sarah Jones, an English freshman, said the forum at Keeneland gave her the opportunity to see if the candidates were who she thought they would be.

“The candidates that I liked through researching were polar opposite in person,” Jones said. “(However), the candidates that did not stand out to me through research stood out to me with personal contact.”

All five Democratic candidates participated in the five rounds of the forum.

First, the candidates had a lightning round of introductions, and then they had time to comment on what the other candidates said.

The students began a “citizen topic” round by mentioning one or two words they felt the candidates should discuss. Some topics mentioned were health care, education, credentials and bipartisanship.

Daniel Mongiardo of Hazard, Kentucky’s lieutenant governor, spoke first. He wasfollowed by Darlene Fitzgerald Price of Whitley City, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway of Louisville, Maurice Sweeney of Eastwood and James Buckmaster of Henderson.

The forum lasted about an hour and a half and finished with a bonus round of responses to the students’ own questions.

The students were pleased with the results from the first of their three forums. They have their own forum coming up on April 14 and another Lexington Forum for Kentucky’s Republican candidates on May 6.

“I couldn’t be have been more happy with how it ended up,” Jones said. “I can’t wait to do it again.”