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Roosevelt in the Daily Tar Heel

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mayoral Candidates Target Students

'Roosevelt Group Moderates Event'

The Daily Tar Heel, Wednesday, October 7, 2009

By Tyler Hardy, staff writer

By nature, the Young Democrats and College Republicans disagree on several issues.

But Tuesday night, the two groups came to a consensus, agreeing to invite the UNC Roosevelt Institution to moderate a debate between the four candidates campaigning to be mayor of Chapel Hill.

The hosting gig represents a continued respect for the institute, a student policy think tank that has gained attention because of its abilit to suggest nonpartisan policy changes.

Taylor Isenberg, the Roosevelt Institute's vice president for policy implementation, said the group was an ideal choice because of its nonpartisan ideals.

"Increasing credibility within the community is something we've really tried hard to focus on this year," she said.

Isenberg said the group was invited partly because it moderated the mayoral debate two years ago. She added that she believes the institute was given this job because of its reputation.

Libby Longino, president of the Roosevelt Institute, said she was honored by the invitation.

"We are honored that the Young Democrats and College Republicans would htink of the Roosevelt Institute as the appropriate body to moderate as a nonpartisan interest," she said.

Isenberg said the club has enjoyed moderating in the past and was eager to serve again.

The Roosevelt Institute created a list of questions for the candidates after doing independent research and reviewing suggestions from the Young Democrats and College Republicans.

Isenberg said the club hoped to promote dialogue between the four mayoral candidates: Augustus Cho, Matt Czajkowski, Mark Kleinschmidt, and Kevin Wolff.

Leaders of the Young Democrats and College Republicans said the institute promoted not only dialogue but awareness of the event.

Both Justin Rosenthal, co-president of the Young Democrats, and John Eick, chairman of the College Republicans, said this year's debate saw a better turnout than the event two years ago.

"Turnout was not nearly as high as it could be for a campus of this size," Rosenthal said of the last debate.

But this year, Rosenthal siad the Young Democrats, College Republicans, and student government publicized the debate more aggressively through e-mails and advertising in the Pit.

He said the Young Democrats, who have yet to make an endorsement, would consider supporting a single candidate after the debate.

Eick said the College Republicans are leaning towards Wolff, one of the two Republicans.

"Only one candidate has expressed interest in us," he siad, referring to Wolff.