Aurora high schoolers hosting mayoral debate Monday

  • Students from four Aurora high schools are hosting a debate Monday featuring mayoral candidates, from left, Richard Irvin, John Laesch and Judd Lofchie.

    Students from four Aurora high schools are hosting a debate Monday featuring mayoral candidates, from left, Richard Irvin, John Laesch and Judd Lofchie.

 
 
Updated 3/12/2021 2:16 PM

Civically engaged student leaders from four Aurora high schools are organizing a virtual debate Monday featuring the three candidates vying for Aurora mayor.

Incumbent Richard Irvin, 10th Ward Alderman Judd Lofchie and former East Aurora Unit District 131 school board member John Laesch have been invited to participate in the forum, hosted by student groups from Metea Valley, Waubonsie Valley, East Aurora and West Aurora high schools.

 

Two nonpartisan organizations, Citizens of Metea and Waubonsie Valley Youth & Government, held a forum last month involving candidates running for Indian Prairie Unit District 204 school board. Hoping to expand their coverage to other races on the ballot, student representatives teamed up with the two Aurora schools outside District 204 to plan a communitywide mayoral debate, said senior Sebastian Segarra, political director for Citizens of Metea.

The students have conducted research, developed questions and handled the logistics of the event, including advertising and outreach efforts, Segarra said. Debate topics will include school funding and budgets; climate change; police relations and reform; community investments, particularly in the downtown; and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Student hosts are Segarra, Landon Williams from Waubonsie Valley, Danny Perez of West Aurora, and Israel Tinoco from East Aurora.

Since last month's District 204 candidate forum, Segarra said, student leaders have worked through technical difficulties, changed up the format and "worked a lot on the back end to make the event run more smoothly."

"You can expect a very well organized and well-run debate this Monday," he said. "Hopefully those attendees will come out having learned something about the candidates and know who they will be voting for April 6."

The event is scheduled to take place 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday via Zoom. Registration is open to the public.

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