The University of Mary Washington will host a public political debate between candidates for Virginia’s 88th District House of Delegates seat on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m.
Democrat Kecia Evans, Republican Phillip Scott and Libertarian Tim Lewis will face off live via Zoom, with public viewing accessible through YouTube. Viewers may submit questions for consideration for inclusion in the debate using an online form until 11 a.m. on the day of the event. Incumbent Mark Cole (R) announced earlier this year that he would not seek reelection after nearly two decades in office. The 88th district covers part of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania, Stafford and Fauquier counties.
“While COVID has forced us to debate online this fall, we can look forward to vigorous discussions about the path forward for Virginia,” said moderator Stephen Farnsworth, UMW professor of political science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies.
The event is being hosted by Mary Washington’s College Republicans, Young Democrats and Student Government Association. It is co-sponsored by the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, The Free Lance-Star and the League of Women Voters of the Fredericksburg Area. News Director Ted Schubel of WFVA Radio and Editorial Page Editor Barbara Hollingsworth of The Free Lance-Star will ask questions of the candidates during the hourlong debate.
“It’s important to stay involved and learn about the candidates running in this election to make sure everyone is able to make an informed decision when voting at the polls,” said UMW junior Kate McDaid, a philosophy major and Campus Vote Project Fellow.
Kecia Evans is a mother of four who lives in Stafford. She has worked in criminal justice for more than two decades, spending 16 years with an agency that provides advocacy and legal representation to indigent adults and juveniles. Secretary of the Stafford County Board of Zoning Appeals, Evans formerly served as chair of the Stafford County School Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee and of Stafford County’s Parks and Recreation Committee. She led the Legal Redress and Criminal Justice committees of the NAACP’s Stafford Branch and represented the group on the Human Rights Coalition for the Rappahannock Regional Jail. Evans holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in cybersecurity/digital forensics from University of Maryland University College, and a master of law degree in national security law from Regent School of Law.
Spotsylvania County resident Phillip Scott is the father of five girls. A business owner, he leads a team that handles background investigations for a government contractor. Scott also has professional experience in food and customer service management, and residential and commercial construction. He serves on the Spotsylvania County Citizens Budget Review Committee and has held various roles with his property owners association, including serving on the board of directors, as president and treasurer, and on various committees. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a juris master’s degree from Liberty University, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in public policy.
Tim Lewis, who lives in Stafford, is the father of three. He retired after 20 years of service with the Marine Corps, where he began in the infantry, specialized in intelligence and saw combat action in such places as Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. A third-party contractor for the U.S. Department of State, Lewis serves on the board of directors for Beacon Hall, a nonprofit that aims to enrich the lives of disadvantaged children. He also has worked with, volunteered for or supported such groups as the American Red Cross, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Gwynneth’s Gift.
The second of two debates hosted by the University of Mary Washington this fall, the Oct. 26 event spotlights local elections and comes just days after UMW’s inclusion in the Voter Friendly Campus Report, listing schools that successfully support voter education and engagement.
“One of my favorite traditions at Mary Washington is our ability to host candidate debates for area elected offices,” Farnsworth said, “and the willingness every year of those candidates to join us to discuss the future of our region.”
Submit questions, which must be received by 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 26, via an online form at umw.edu/oct2021debatequestions.
Watch the live debate on YouTube at umw.edu/oct2021debate.