Real World Experience: A Debate At Ledyard High School

What was the debate?

On September 19 in the LHS auditorium, Ledyard civics classes had the chance to experience a live debate between former 40th district representative, John Scott, and recently elected representative, Christine Conley. The debate consisted of a series of questions about current issues in the state of Connecticut and how each representative would help address the issue. Each of the representatives were given 90 seconds to discuss their opinions and answer the question.

Who was debating and about what?

John Scott and Christine Conley were the two candidates who debated. Scott ran as a Republican and Conley as a Democrat. Both agreed that the opioid crisis needs to be addressed and more funding is needed to help those addicted and they both also believe that sexual harassment is a major issue that Connecticut needs to work on. Scott included a personal story about harassment and Conley had statistics to back up her stances. Another issue that Conley and Scott see eye to eye on is gun control; they both think that mental health is to blame for shootings and that putting safeguards in place could help catch mentally ill children early on.

They disagreed on many topics such as building new casinos, recreational marijuana, and the building of toll bridges. Conley believed that building a new casino could bring in more revenue for CT and create good jobs with fair pay and benefits. Scott believed that the building of a new casino would take away jobs but he did not specify how. Conley discussed how medical marijuana was already helping people and how legalizing it for recreational use could bring in more money for CT by taxing the cannabis. Scott used another personal story to say that he believed it could cause more problems if people became addicted to it and that the taxes brought in, by legalizing marijuana, would not be enough to cover the costs of paying for the problems that would arise from it. Conley believes that toll bridges would help with bringing in income for CT that could be used to pay for improving the roads and bridges that otherwise CT would not have enough money to pay for. Scott disagreed saying that there was no way of knowing that the money would go directly to the roads and doubted it would help.

What does LHS think?

Sophomore Evelyn Morrison found the debate “…a little bit boring. There were good topics, but both of the debaters were respectful to each other- which is fine, but I feel like it should have gotten more heated. That would’ve made it more interesting.”

Another sophomore, Ryan Kinney, was in favor of Scott because I believe in his opinions. He gave life experiences and I feel like he cared more.”

However, Ryan McGowan, also a sophomore, had to disagree. He thought “Conley was a lot better than Scott. She used more detail than Scott did. A lot of Scott’s points were backed up by anecdotes and not facts.”

Principal Amanda Fagan shared with us some of the work that was put into planning the debate. “John Scott reached out to me to see if we would be interested in hosting a debate, Once I contemplated the idea for a bit, I formally invited both candidates. From there, we worked together to hash out the details.” Principal Fagan finished with the following statement:

“I also think it’s good for students to be exposed to the formal protocol of a debate. Seeing the candidates as real humans is important, too. Christine Conley and John Scott are both quite approachable, down-to-earth people. Maybe that inspires students in the audience to step up and work on behalf of their communities in some capacity.”

This debate has provided much experience for the LHS civics classes and everyone else who attended. A special thank you to the League of Women Voters, an organization that has been around since the 1920’s and fought for women’s right to vote and today continues to fight for those who don’t have as much of a say, for moderating the debate.  

Who won?

As of November 6, Christine Conley won the seat for the 40th District with 58.4% of the votes. Ledyard High wishes her the best of luck. When we reached out to Conley, she said she was “very pleased to represent Groton and Ledyard for another 2 years. I believe I was successful this election by talking to people and listening to their concerns and making changes in the law to benefit the community. I thought the debate at Ledyard went very well. The questions asked were of the issues of importance to students and the community.  The issues were timely and well researched. The audience was very attentive and I hope the students found it to be a productive class period.”
Hannah Avila, Staff Writer

Sophomore Hannah Avila is a staff writer for the 2018-2019 Colonel. She is a three-sport athlete who participates in volleyball, basketball, and softball.  When she’s not playing or practicing sports she is home with her dog and usually has her nose in some type of romance novel.

Ella Lindbeck, Staff Writer

Sophomore Ella Lindbeck Is a staff writer for the 2018-2019 colonel. She is a swimmer and loves reading. If she isn’t watching the Harry Potter movies she’s probably napping.

Mackenzie Peluso, Staff Writer

Sophomore Mackenzie Peluso is a staff writer for the 2018-2019 Colonel. She is a cheerleader and often volunteers for school events. Her goals in life are to learn Italian and watch every Marvel movie in order. You can often see her wearing checkered Vans or a striped sweater.

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