RALEIGH — Two Raleigh-based research organizations with contrasting political philosophies are joining forces to foster a broader and more constructive dialogue on North Carolina public policy with the debut Wednesday of a regular series of online debates on key issues.
Debaters from the John Locke Foundation and the North Carolina Justice Center will take on a variety of fiscal, economic, and governmental issues in the new feature, which will be called “Raising the Issue” and appear frequently during the current legislative session and the 2004 election cycle.
In each case, opening arguments from the two sides will be followed by a number of short responses that will include convenient links to research, proposed legislation, and other supplemental materials.
Each debate will occur for three hours in real-time within the Locke Foundation’s blog, called “The Locker Room,” and will then be posted in full on the main web sites of both the NC Justice Center and the Locke Foundation
“We think that presenting live debates on the Internet is a great way to encourage North Carolinians from across the state and the political spectrum to think about these important issues and to grapple with other points of view,” said Locke Foundation President John Hood. “Ideally, having these debates online will encourage other bloggers, commentators, and readers to pick up the discussion where we leave off, and to get involved personally in North Carolina’s policymaking process.”
The name of the debate series, “Raising the Issue,” has a double-meaning, according to Rob Schofield, policy director at the N.C. Justice Center.
“One thing we can all agree on is that politics should be a meaningful discussion about important matters, about public policies that affect people’s lives on a daily basis,” he said. “Not only do we seek to raise some of these issues in our online debates, but we also seek to raise issues above some of the personal attacks and petty partisanship that too often debase the public discourse.”
The first “Raising the Issue” debate will begin on Wednesday, May 26 at 2 p.m. at The Locker Room. The topic will be: “Are North Carolina’s health and human services programs the right place to find significant savings to balance the state budget?” Hood and Schofield will be the debaters for this first installment of “Raising the Issue.”
For more information about the new “Raising the Issue” collaborative project, call the Locke Foundation at 919-828-3876 or the Justice Center at 919-856-2153.