The 2024 presidential elections in Arizona are a crucial time for civic dialogue, as “alternative facts” and seemingly infallible political narratives are becoming more common. Dan Shearer, editor of Green Valley News and Sahuarita Sun in Southern Arizona, and editorial director of Wick Communications, explains the importance of debates and town halls in political campaigns in Southern Arizona. Debates between candidates for local, state and federal elections are the most direct way for politicians to hold each other accountable for their campaign rhetoric. Veteran journalist Ted Simons, who has been covering speeches for PBS in Arizona for 15 years, is a key figure in these debates.
He ensures that even the most astute politician cannot avoid responding to questions. The experience of participating in a town hall together with the recommendations has had both big and small repercussions. For example, when Arizona PBS planned a debate in collaboration with a state-sponsored commission, they gave Lake solo airtime as a result of Hobbs refusing to give a live talk to cameras and voters in Arizona. Live debates are an essential part of political campaigns in Southern Arizona. They provide an opportunity for candidates to be held accountable for their rhetoric, while also giving voters the chance to ask questions and get to know their candidates better. With an experienced journalist like Ted Simons moderating the debates, voters can be sure that their questions will be answered honestly.