High School Hosts Congressional Candidates

POSTED: Monday, January 16, 2012 - 10:11pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - 2:43am

WEST EL PASO- All four of the democratic congress candidates for El Paso took part in a forum on Monday night.

The event at Coronado High School was unique because high school students coordinated the whole thing.

Many of the 600 proposed questions came through Facebook and other social media sites. The students then narrowed those questions down to just 12.

Coronado students had planned this event for months. All four democratic congressional candidates on the same stage.

Student coordinator Meagan Abel says all the work was worth it.

"It starts out with sending initiations and hoping we get some sort of a response. But, really it takes a lot of networking and being able to talk to the right people,” said Abel.

With the debate taking place at a school, the hot topic of the night became education.

"Education is not to be viewed as a cost, but an investment. I believe that the fiscal mismanagement at the national level has depleted the resources many of our parents may have had,” said candidate Jerome Tilghman.

"I think it's imperative that we work to make education more affordable,” said Congressman Silvestre Reyes.

Former El Paso City Representative Beto O'Rourke called out incumbent Congressman Silvestre Reyes saying that Reyes hasn't acted quick enough in Washington to pass legislation that would allow diplomas earned by illegal immigrants to be valid in The United States.

"I don't know frankly why it's taking so long, and I don't know why our representative on The U.S- Mexico border. The capital of the border, isn't leading the charge,” said O’Rourke.

Congressman Reyes responded by stating he helped write The Dream Act, but he says republicans are the reason the legislation hasn't gone anywhere.

Ben Mendoza made the most controversial statements of the night when he compared President Barrack Obama to Adolf Hitler because he signed The National Defense Authorization Act.

"If you believe in the constitution, and you believe in The Bill of Rights, and you have fought for this country, you most certainly would not support it,” said Mendoza.

No matter how you stand on the issues, students like Meagan Abel hope that her peers get involved, and make their voices heard.

Monday night's audience had a chance to pick up registration forms to sign-up in time for the election this spring.


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