The candidates running for the District 10 State Senate seat were on campus to engage voters and TCU students in a heated debate.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democrat, and her challenger State Rep Mark Shelton, a Republican, were at odds on most issues during the 90-minute debate at the Dee J. Kelly Visitors and Alumni Center last Thursday, and students said the tone of the debate impacted voters.
Senior political science major Thomas Pronske said the negativity of the campaign is taking a toll on the voters in Tarrant County, and he warned that it may decrease voter turnout with TV ads and fliers that make citizens think both candidates are dishonest and corrupt.
“Our system is so bipolar, people label themselves as Republican or Democrat, but ultimately we have to come together and work together to actually solve issues that matter,” Pronske said.
The issues heavily debated Thursday included the state budget, taxes, the national health care system and Medicare funding, but TCU students said they needed to hear solutions for unaffordable college tuition rates, student debt crisis and high unemployment rates among recent college graduates.
Sophomore history major Christian Lueck said he was very concerned about finding a job after graduation, and he wanted to know that his elected officials would work their hardest to give him the best business climate available.
The candidates had differing views on how to create jobs during the debate, and they chose to focus on weaknesses in their opponent’s economic strategy.
“To create a vibrant economy we need to invest in public education and create the kind of trained workforce that brings jobs to Texans,” said Davis. “TCU students deserve an elected official who will create jobs, and that’s my biggest priority. “
Senior political science major Jack Enright said Shelton had the best platform for job creation with low taxes and free market economics, which he said would give business more incentive to hire.
“I have become just overwhelmed by this campaign, I don’t know which side to trust to fix the economy. It’s sad, but I don’t think I'll vote for either because I don’t want to cast an uncertain vote,” said senior strategic communication major Tessa Del Grande.
Some students registered in the district have already made their choice for the state senate seat this week with the start of early voting.
Efforts to contact State Rep. Mark Shelton before and after the debate were unsuccessful.