On October 15, 2014 the Social Science program at the University of Maine at Augusta hosted a debate between the two candidates on the ballot to become the next mayor of Augusta, Maine. Cosponsored with the Kennebec Journal, the debate asked city councilors William Dowling and David Rollins to address questions driven by available social science data regarding the city of Augusta. I had the enjoyable privilege of moderating, while fellow professor and sociologiest Lorien Lake-Corral fielded and filtered audience questions.
A video of the debate is available below (with audio kicking in about 20 seconds in):
During the debate, reference is made to a series of charts drawing from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports and the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. These charts, reproduced below, place the circumstances of the city of Augusta in the context of the other large communities in Maine and the nation itself, describing property crime rates, violent crime rates, median household income, food stamp use, female labor force participation and the sex gap in pay for Augusta and its peer cities.
Finally, budget materials for the city of Augusta in fiscal year 2014-2015, referred to often during the debate, can be found here.
As you evaluate the debate performances of Bill Dowling and Dave Rollins, I encourage you to consider their committments and demurrals with regard to the social challenges Augusta faces. Also think about the budgeting choices the candidates have made as councilors. In that context, how do you think they’ve done?