PORTLAND, OR -- The candidates for Governor face off in their first debate on Tuesday, and all the questions will come from kids, including a Crook County teen.
Olivia Cooper is a senior at Crook County High School. She will travel to Portland for the "Debate for Oregon's Future," sponsored by Children First for Oregon. "I think this is going to be a great opportunity," Cooper tells KBND News. She believes allowing kids to determine the questions will make the debate more interesting. "They told us, 'Pick something that's important to you, write a question about it.' And, you know, I think that's really important, because I think a lot of kids think about issues that aren't necessarily as important to adults. And so, I think giving us free rein actually makes for better questions, more thoughtful questions, that maybe the gubernatorial candidates haven't been asked before." She says her question will remain top secret until she asks it at the debate.
This won't just look good on Cooper's resume; she's using this chance to make an important decision, "I'm going to be 18 at the end of October, so, I'm going to be able to vote. I think this is going to help me personally to make up my mind about which candidate to go for. So, we'll see!"
While she's looking forward to the trip to Portland, Cooper admits she wishes the candidates would plan a debate in Central Oregon, "I think that a lot of their focus is on Portland and bigger areas, just because that's where a lot of people are. And what they don't seem to understand is that Central Oregon has quite a few people, and it kind of upsets me a little bit that they choose not to spend as much time here."
All three candidates are expected to participate in the debate: Governor Kate Brown (D), Bend State Rep. Knute Buehler (R) and cabinetmaker Patrick Starnes (I). The Debate for Oregon's Future is 7-8 p.m. on Tuesday, and will be broadcast in Central Oregon on KBNZ-CBS, as well as live-streamed through KOIN-TV.
For more on the candidates, visit our Election 2018 page.