The University of Mary Washington will host a 1st Congressional District Debate on Monday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m. in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium.
U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman, a Republican, and Democratic challenger Vangie Williams will face off for the first time. UMW Political Science Professor Stephen Farnsworth will moderate the event, which is free and open to the public. No tickets are required. The forum will also be live-streamed at https://portal.stretchinternet.com/umwevents/portal.htm?eventId=481361&streamType=video.
Williams, who lives in King George County, beat out two opponents earlier this year to secure the Democratic nomination in Virginia’s 1st District, a first for an African-American woman. If she wins, she would become the first woman of color to be elected to Congress from Virginia.
A strategic planner for a government contractor, Williams’ career highlights include helping hire nearly 70,000 airport security screeners after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. She has a master’s degree in project management, which she earned while working full-time as a mother and professional. Williams and her husband have six daughters ranging in age from 11 to 23.
“I’m excited for this debate because it allows for a greater number of residents in the 1st District to hear from both candidates in a public forum,” Williams said. “Civic engagement and a constructive dialogue are key to a strong and healthy democracy. I look forward to sharing my vision for the district and solutions for issues that impact people every day.”
Wittman, a resident of Westmoreland County, is a five-term incumbent who won his last election with 60 percent of the vote. Prior to his election to Congress, he served in the House of Delegates for the Northern Neck. In the U.S. Congress, Wittman serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Natural Resources.
“I want to thank the University of Mary Washington for holding this forum and I look forward to engaging with my opponent and having a fair, civil discussion on the issues of the 1st District,” Wittman said. “The constituents of the 1st District are, and will always be, my number one priority. I am fighting to bring more accountability to Washington, ensure veterans receive the benefits they have earned, rebuild our military, and connect our students with 21st century jobs. I have a proven record of results on these issues that matter to the 1st District, and I look forward to seeing as many constituents as possible at the forum.”
The 1st District includes all or parts of more than 15 counties, including Spotsylvania and Stafford, as well as the city of Fredericksburg.
The forum is sponsored by the UMW Student Government Association’s Legislative Action Committee, the UMW College Republicans, the UMW Young Democrats, The Free Lance-Star and the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce.
For more information about the debate, contact Stephen Farnsworth at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information on each candidate can be found on their websites: robwittman.com and vangieforcongress.com.