By Judy Zaunbrecher
Voter Service Chair, LWV Concord-Carlisle

Rep. Niki Tsongas, left, and challenger Ann Wofford in candidates’ forum at Lowell High School, moderated by Nancy Carapezza, center.

The LWV of Concord-Carlisle co-sponsored a Third Congressional District candidates’ forum with Lowell High School, Lowell Educational Television and Lowell Votes before the November election.  Representative Niki Tsongas (D-Incumbent) and challenger Ann Wofford (R) participated in the forum, moderated by Nancy Carapezza.

The forum was held at Lowell High School and broadcast live on Lowell Public Television and WCAP-AM radio.  Over 400 people attended, many of them LHS students.

After the forum, the Social Studies Department conducted a program to emphasize the importance of voting.  The school also arranged for a voter registration table in the auditorium lobby.

Conducting the forum with LHS and LET provided a great opportunity to engage students in the planning and execution.  Each group—LHS, LET, Lowell Votes and LWVCC—contributed separate and complementary skills and resources to this successful event.  The League brought its institutional knowledge on how to organize and conduct a non-partisan, issues-focused candidates’ forum.  LHS provided an enthusiastic, thoughtful, and disciplined group of students who filled all of the roles except moderator at the forum.  LET provided the outstanding production capabilities of their staff and student volunteers for the broadcast and taping of the forum.

I encourage other Leagues to seek opportunities to collaborate with high schools.  The students, teachers, and staff at Lowell High School were great to work with.  The students really enjoyed the experience.  I was thrilled to see students getting their pictures taken with the candidates after the forum, and the candidates staying around to talk with students informally.  It’s a wonderful way to engage young people in civic life and encourage participation in democracy.