Students from the Young Voters Society, Honors Politics Class, and Robertsine Duncan NAACP Youth Council gained real-world experience hosting the Norwich City mayoral debate. On October 11, Democrat Derell Wilson, Republican Peter Nystrom, Libertarian Bill Russell, and petitioning candidates Joseph Radecki and Jon Oldfield discussed issues ranging from the working hours of the mayor to economic development and taxes.
Shea Lee, President of NFA’s Young Voters Society, said, “Getting involved in the community and seeing who could possibly be the mayor, and everyone that’s going to have an impact, is important because there are many changes that are going to happen with this election. I hope to get to know the candidates better and know who is going to be the best mayoral candidate. I want the community to be able to understand the importance of coming to these debates. If events like this are more local, especially here at NFA, if they come and get to know the candidates, what their interests are, and what they’re going to do for the community, I think it would be beneficial.”
Lee went to her first meeting of the society during her junior year and has been a part of the club ever since. The Young Voters Society also helps around the community and holds events involving local politics. Last year, they organized the school-wide mock election.
“Students were responsible to make sure candidates were where they were supposed to be, that they were mic’d up, and that they were in the right order to be introduced. Another group was keeping time of candidates, one volunteer read a question, another one introduced the candidates; so they took on many roles around the debate,” stated the Young Voters Society’s advisor, John Mariano.
Mariano believed the community needed to know who was running for mayor of their city and hear what they had to say because it allowed them to form a better opinion.
Over one hundred Norwich residents attended the debate in the Slater Auditorium.
Resident Ben Haith commented, “Becoming familiar with the candidates was the benefit of coming to the debate. I listened to the candidate who represented professionalism-someone who knows the technical aspects of running a government.”
Peter Nystrom was elected the mayor of Norwich on November 7.