Congressional debate

Students gather to watch livestream of congressional debate between Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Lisa Brown

The 2018 congressional debate between Republican candidate Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Democratic candidate Lisa Brown was livestreamed in Village Hall on the Walla Walla University campus on Wednesday, Oct. 24. Tickets for the live debate, which was held at Walla Walla Community College, sold out quickly.

The livestream event was organized by the Associated Students of Walla Walla University in conjunction with the WWU Department of History and Philosophy. Katie Folkenberg, ASWWU president, said, “I felt that it was important for ASWWU to host this event to encourage students to become more civically informed and involved. Since ASWWU is the student association and the club with the broadest range of influence on campus, it made sense that we would encourage/co-sponsor this event.”

Approximately 70 people attended the livestream event. The atmosphere was anticipatory but calm.

Before the event began, Ethan Dolph, sophomore electrical engineering major, said “I’m expecting a lot of conversation on economic and agricultural issues and some personal attacks, based on their political ads and debates in the past.”

Dolph said, “At this point in my life, most politics don’t have a direct effect on me. I’m interested in politics because of how it affects others, namely those most vulnerable in society due to poverty or discrimination. I believe politics has more of a profound effect on the world than some think.”   

Questions addressed to McMorris Rogers and Brown included topics such as agriculture, immigration, women’s rights, student loans, politics in general, climate change, native citizens, salmon, and the LGBTQ community. In her opening statement, McMorris Rogers said, “You’re not defined by where you came from, but who you can become.” In Brown’s opening statement, she said, “We need a congress that is working together for one America.”

Brandon Rittenour, sophomore music and education double major, said, “Overall it was quite civil. It wasn’t very intense. It was less intense than I thought it would be. I thought both politicians stated their points pretty clearly. McMorris Rodgers definitely avoided some of the questions, but Brown should have been more passionate and confident for what she stood for. I think the reason people will vote for her is because she will stand up to administration, but they would have appreciated more confidence.”

Folkenberg said, “This event was not done by one person! It was a team effort and I’m so glad we made it happen!”

For more information or to watch a recording of the debate, visit

Posted Nov. 5, 2018

A cropped photo of the American flag