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A professor and student will serve as panelists at the Honda-Khanna debate, and SJSU will be the venue for a San Jose mayoral debate.

Media Contact: Pat Harris, 408-924-1748
Logistics Contact: Fernanda P. Karp, 408-924-1162

San Jose, CA—San Jose State will play important roles in debates between candidates in two pivotal races in the run-up to the November elections.

An SJSU professor and student will serve as panelists when the 17th Congressional District candidates – Mike Honda and Ro Khanna –discuss a wide range of topics relevant to Silicon Valley and the South Bay beginning at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 6.  The event will be closed to the public but broadcasted live from the NBC Bay Area newsroom.

Associate Professor of Political Science Melinda Jackson and Associated Students Director of External Affairs LooLoo Amante will pose questions to the candidates, along with representatives from the Huffington Post and KQED.

Retired SJSU Professor of Political Science Larry Gerston and NBC Bay Area Anchor Raj Mathai will conclude the broadcast with a post-debate analysis.

Candidates for Congress

“This race is one of the hottest in the nation for a couple of reasons,” Jackson said. “First of all, it pits two Democrats against each othera popular seven-term incumbent backed by the party establishment and a young challenger with the endorsement of many Silicon Valley tech firms. So it is both a generational contest, and an old-guard versus new-guard battle.

“Second, this is the first majority-Asian-American congressional district in the nation, outside of Hawaii, and the race features a Japanese-American candidate versus an Indian-American. If Khanna were to unseat Honda, it would also signal the growing political influence of the Indian-American community in California. Whatever happens on November 4th, this will be an exciting race to watch!”

To Amante, having a college student leader on the panel presents an excellent opportunity to share the concerns and needs of people her age.

“As a young voter, I want to know they are taking into consideration and addressing the issues college students are dealing with during their campaigns and, if elected, in office,” she said. “It’s great to add a student because it adds diversity in age to the group of panelists.”

Candidates for Mayor

The San Jose mayoral candidates – Dave Cortese and Sam Liccardo – will present their visions for the city that is home to this university at 6 p.m. Oct. 9 in Morris Daily Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public but registration is required.

The moderator will be Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of SPUR, a nonprofit focusing on urban issues. Founded in San Francisco, the organization opened a San Jose office two years ago, citing this city as “an important location for forward-thinking urban policy.”

“San Jose, the nation’s 10th largest city, is on the cusp of explosive growth, projecting to add nearly half a million people in the next 30 years,” SPUR said. “What happens in the next decade will affect current and future citizens for decades to come.”

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,740 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

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