VP DEBATE: Tarson on defense as she faces challengers on all sides

The vice presidential debate, the first of two general election debates held this election season, was held last night in conjunction with the Panem Debate Council and The Panem Free Press.

Candidates that competed were required to meet standards set by the PDC, of which five candidates met the qualifications:

  • Vice President Rebecca Tarson (Liberty Party-District 12)
  • Senator Jace Walters (Labor Party-District 10)
  • Senator Quentin Kennedy (Civic Party-District 6)
  • Secretary Delia Sutherland (Conservative Party-District 4)
  • Representative Matthias Christian (Centre Party-District 10)

Topics of the vice presidential debate were separated into two sections: domestic policy and foreign policy. Questions were fielded from the audience in a townhall-style format moderated by Panem Free Press Capitol correspondent Carlton Beck. If a candidate’s name was invoked during another candidate’s response, the first candidate was allowed to respond.



Below are excerpts from the debate proceedings, based on subjects.



ON DOMESTIC POLICY:



Question: “Senator Kennedy, the nation of Panem is facing a serious morphling crisis, particularly in District 6. You have noted on the campaign trail that this crisis cannot stand, and that it must be dealt with immediately. What would be your solution to this drug epidemic?”

Senator Kennedy: “This crisis is abounding with no end in sight as it currently stands. The abuse of morphling destroys the lives of those who take it and those who are around them. Our best way to combat this, and the way that I championed recently in the Senate, is to limit physicians’ ability to prescribe such an addictive drug and to put oversight on the systems that distribute it. The majority of victims of morphling are not those who have been prescribed the drug. They are people who have suffered due to buying it on the black market.”



Question: “Secretary Sutherland, you have expressed discontent with the Mellark administration in regards to the size of the government. If you were elected vice president, what areas of the government would you champion to downsize?”

Secretary Sutherland: “It may be trendy to make new departments, but I don’t think it’s necessary. We have eighteen full-fledged departments, many of which cover small areas that could be covered by a larger overarching department. I would advocate to combine the Departments of Commerce and International Trade and the Departments of State and Global Development. This would not only downsize the size and scope of government, it would also save taxpayers millions.”



Question: “Senator Walters, do you believe that the federal government has done enough in regards to regulation of certain industries, such as the energy sector?”

Senator Walters: “I do not. The past two administrations have done absolutely nothing to protect industrial workers. We’ve seen coal miners and transportation workers engage in unsafe working environments, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Coriolanus Snow was ruling over Panem. It’s rather sickening to watch, considering that President Mellark and Vice President Tarson both are from District 12 and both dealt with the coal industry their entire lives. They should be concerned for the safety of these workers, and as vice president, I would look to help impose more stringent regulations on dangerous industries such as these to ensure that citizens are safer.”

Tarson’s response: “You’re right, Senator; I have lived around the coal industry my entire life. District 12 is undoubtedly the largest coal district in Panem, and we are proud of it. However, District 12 is also aware that by putting these regulations on them, that you are not making them any safer. Instead of being able to make a living, these workers are now out of a job because the coal mines can’t afford to employ them. While I appreciate your enthusiasm to make sure coal miners and all workers are safer, perhaps you should get to know a few of them first before making them political pawns. These workers know best, and they want to work.”



Question: “Vice President Tarson, your opponents have openly criticized you for your support of a tax cut for corporations, as signed into law by the President in his tax bill earlier in his term. What is the rationale for such a policy, and do you support corporations being so heavily involved in the political process through donations to campaigns?”

Vice President Tarson: “I don’t regret supporting that bill, not one bit. As you can probably tell, we no longer are in a recession. Our economic numbers are higher than they have been in a very long time, probably since Katniss Everdeen was in office. Clearly, cutting that tax rate spurred some much needed growth. As for corporations involved in the political process, I think that companies as a whole shouldn’t donate. I haven’t accepted any donations from major corporations. However, every person in Panem should have the right to participate in our political process, and if Senator Walters or Senator Kennedy or Representative Christian have an issue with that, they should really consider how that would be a violation of basic constitutional rights.”

Representative Christian’s rebuttal: “Madame Vice President, with all due respect, your donations may not directly from the corporations themselves, but the fact that company executives funnel millions into your campaign warchest is a clear indicator that you still aren’t any sort of independent from corporate interests.”

Senators Kennedy and Walters ceded their response time following Representative Christian’s response.



Question: “Representative Christian, you have spoken at length during your campaign rallies on government accountability and ensuring that the government remains open and transparent. Under the Canth administration, you were notably open about their lack of transparency and their corruption. What do you have to say regarding the same subject for the Mellark administration, and what would you change as vice president?”

Representative Christian: “While the Mellark administration has undoubtedly improved from the Canth administration on government transparency and corruption, let me remind everyone that the bar was rather low under President Canth. This administration, though marginally better, still has acted brazenly in including lobbyists and corporate interests into the legislative and executive process, corrupting the system that was set forth after the Revolution. We need a reset; we need to remember that a government that conceals its actions is a government that has something to hide. As vice president, the first thing I would push for is a lifetime ban on lobbyists serving in the White House and a ten-year waiting period before public officials could join the lobbying sector.”



ON FOREIGN POLICY:



Question: “Senator Walters, you have stated that Panem’s involvement in Greece was a ‘massive overreaching mistake that never should have occurred.’ How would you have recommended the response to the Greek crisis occurred?”

Senator Walters: “My statement wasn’t necessarily geared at non-involvement in Greece. Our involvement, beyond that of ensuring the safe return of nuclear weapons, was the issue. President Mellark and his administration- and yes, that would include you, Madame Vice President- are responsible for the loss of hundreds of Panem citizens’ lives due to the bungled response. We should have been better prepared to deal with such a crisis, and we should have put forward a concrete plan for how things would be handled.”

VP Tarson’s response: “Senator, that’s just heinous of you to exploit the tragic loss of these brave men and women. Our response was not bungled. It was as quick as we could make it. I understand that you have never sat in the Situation Room and made the tough decision to put our soldiers in harm’s way, but I figured that you were intelligent enough to understand that this decision was not taken lightly by the administration.”



Question: “Vice President Tarson, you have expressed that the need for a nuclear Panem is clear and that Panem should remain a nuclear power in order to deter other nations from bellicose actions. However, some of your opponents disagree with you heavily on this subject. Why exactly does the nation of Panem need to remain a nuclear power?”

Secretary Sutherland: “Well, we can start out by looking directly at what just happened in Greece. Greece attempted to obtain nuclear arsenals during their conflict with the Grecorussian Empire, leading to a foreign nuclear crisis. ”



Question: “Senator Kennedy, you have previously criticized the Mellark administration’s approach to foreign policy as, in your words, it “goes much farther than it should into others’ affairs.” Please explain what you meant in this statement.”

Senator Kennedy: “That statement largely refers to the idea that is prevalent within the Mellark administration that we should intervene in other nations’ issues. I know that this may be a radical approach for some on this stage, particularly the Vice President, but we have enough issues at home that we don’t need to worry about making Greece our colony.”

Tarson’s response: “You’re right, Senator; we do have issues at home to focus on, and in our administration, we have tackled key issues such as education, the economy, and tax reform. However, we cannot simply avoid foreign policy, as popular as that may be. We need to make sure our nation is safe from all enemies foreign and domestic..”



Question: “Vice President Tarson, there are growing concerns over human rights violations in nations like Oceania and Greece. What is your opinion on how we should combat such violations, or should we even have a role in ensuring against such violations?”

Vice President Tarson: “Without a doubt such human rights violations are not appropriate or acceptable. However, you bring a very valid question to the table: should we intervene? My personal opinion would be that we should respond when our assets or interests are at risk. However, beyond that, we should be cooperating with the Council of Nations to implement strict sanctions against the nations involved.”



Question: “Representative Christian, the nation of Oceania has threatened a trade war with the nation of Panem following what they refer to as ‘invasive acts’ on their soil due to our offensive to defeat the Oceanian Empire. What is your view on how we should respond to such threats?”

Representative Christian: “I have no doubt that Panem is prepared for such a trade war, but we should consider diplomacy in this matter. If it possible to deescalate such a conflict, it should be done with the utmost haste. I’m not certain if the Mellark administration has done so; however, I certainly urge a diplomatic ending to this.”


ANALYSIS: Based on flash polling conducted immediately after the debate, the following results occurred:

Which candidate do you believe won the debate?

Rebecca Tarson – 40 percent

Matthias Christian – 29 percent

Delia Sutherland – 12 percent

Jace Walters – 5 percent

Quentin Kennedy – 3 percent

Undecided – 11 percent

If the general election were held today, which candidate would you be most likely to vote for in the election for vice president?

Rebecca Tarson – 32 percent

Matthias Christian – 22 percent

Jace Walters – 16 percent

Delia Sutherland – 14 percent

Quentin Kennedy – 12 percent

Undecided – 4 percent


The results show clear movement for Vice President Tarson; the Vice President now leads the field following the debate by a stark ten points over her nearest competitor, Matthias Christian. While the race is expected to narrow, this is certainly a good sign for Tarson as she continues in her race for reelection.

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Campaigning resumes following Amelia devastation

The general election campaign has officially resumed today following a week-long pause due to the threat of Hurricane Amelia and the devastation that followed in District 4.

President Peeta Mellark, First Lady Katniss Everdeen, and Vice President Rebecca Tarson flew by hovercraft to District 4 to view the destruction and offer on-site assistance to officials in District 4. The three worked with emergency personnel to help clear wreckage in one of the towns on the coastline and later served food to evacuees further inland. The presidential and vice presidential candidates of all major parties extended their well-wishes to those in the line of the storm, putting forward offers to help in any way possible.

Coming up very soon, however, is the vice presidential debate, followed by the presidential debate. The two debates will mark the very end of the election season, and for the five candidates for each position, everything is on the line as it remains too close to call at this time.

Hurricane Amelia strikes District 4, quickly loses strength

Hurricane Amelia made landfall today in District 4 after several days of panic and mass evacuations. The storm, unprecedented in modern history due to the initial rarity of tropical cyclones and also due to the extreme intensity of the storm, prompted a massive disaster scenario that the nation of Panem was not prepared for, resulting in swift actions by the federal government and by the districts in the path of the storm.

D4 communities that line the coast are expected to be leveled by Amelia along with significant storm surge that will leave many areas underwater. The damage is expected to be quantified in the billions of dollars.

However, there is some good news for those affected by the storm. Hurricane Amelia, making landfall at a 1-minute sustained wind speed of 200 mph and a minimum pressure of 892 mbars, deteriorated following the hit on the Gulf Coast, causing it to rapidly weaken to a wind speed of 70 mph and a pressure of 988 mbars. This is expected to drastically reduce the amount of damage that Amelia will cause as it goes further inland and bodes well for further chances of dissipation.

Hurricane Amelia, only miles from landfall, strengthens further; Congress approves aid package unanimously

Hurricane Amelia has strengthened even further as it approaches landfall in District 4, according to the Panem Weather Service.

The storm, previously recorded as having a wind speed of 175 mph 1-minute sustained winds and 899 millibars, now has been recorded at a 1-minute sustained wind speed of 200 mph and a minimum pressure of 872 millibars.

“It is without a doubt that this hurricane is incredibly dangerous, and should any citizen remain in the path of such a storm, they will die. If you haven’t evacuated, leave immediately,” said the Panem Weather Service in their advisory on the system.

It is predicted that Hurricane Amelia will make landfall later tonight without further intensification, but the Panem Weather Service says the threat does not end with landfall. They are urging surrounding districts, specifically Districts 9, 10, and 11, to be prepared for torrential rain, destructive winds, and higher threats of tornadic events.

Congress, in other news, has unanimously passed an aid package through both houses of the national legislature to the tune of $10.2 billion as requested by President Mellark. The money will go to District 4 specifically, with potential other aid packages considered as needed.

Hurricane Amelia strengthens while bearing down on D4 coastline

The situation with Hurricane Amelia has only worsened in recent days as the storm has shown signs of strengthening.

Hurricane Amelia, the first notable tropical cyclone to threaten the nation of Panem in well over a century, was previously recorded as having a 145 mile per hour one minute sustained wind speed with a minimum pressure of 924 millibars. The storm at the time was around 300 miles from the coastline of District 4, sitting in the Gulf of Mexico. The discovery of the hurricane triggered mass evacuations from District 4 due to the chance of catastrophic damage and potential fatalities.

Following the most recent observations of Hurricane Amelia, the storm has strengthened to wind speeds of 175 miles per hour sustained over one minute and a minimum pressure of 899 millibars. Researchers indicate that such wind speeds will result in such catastrophic damage that entire municipalities will be leveled, resulting in the displacement of millions of D4 citizens.

President Peeta Mellark in response to the crisis has established under the Department of the Interior the Panem Weather Service, which will function as a forecasting agency to predict not just hurricanes but also other weather events. He has also requested in advance of the storm $10.2 billion in recovery funding in order to aid District 4.

Mellark and Tarson rush back to Capitol to manage reaction to hurricane crisis

President Peeta Mellark and Vice President Rebecca Tarson were forced to take a break from the campaign trail to return to the Capitol as a massive hurricane bore down on the coast of District 4.

The hurricane, tentatively nicknamed Hurricane Amelia, forced the largest peacetime evacuation in Panem’s history as District 4 residents flooded away from the monster storm. The hurricane was caught on military satellites as it was gaining strength in the Gulf of Mexico, with hovercraft inspecting the storm after it was discovered.

Hurricanes, though a major problem before the Dark Days, have not been common since World War III. Scientists believe that this is due to the effects of the widespread nuclear warfare, causing a rapid decrease in temperatures worldwide and ultimately impacting the climate of the planet. In fact, this is predicted to be the first landfall on the continent of North America since Coriolanus Snow (the first) established his rule over Panem after World War III. Due to the infrequency of such storms, prediction centers have not been needed.

Hurricanes, for those in Panem who may not be aware, are described as “rapidly rotating storm systems characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain.”

As it currently stands, “Hurricane Amelia” has a 1-minute sustained wind speed of 145 miles per hour with a minimum pressure of 924 millibars. “Amelia” sits around 350 miles off the coastline of District 4 and is anticipated to make landfall as a very strong hurricane within the next week.

Secretary Amy Oaksmith, head of the Department of the Interior, is predicting that the damage from this storm will be catastrophic. “There is no reason that any citizen of District 4 should remain in the path of this storm. They need to leave, because the repercussions of not leaving are fatal. Belongings can be replaced, but human lives cannot.” The Governor of District 4, Harold Cersisa, has issued a mandatory evacuation for the entire coastline and inland areas that could be affected.

Panem Debate Council releases debate information

The Panem Debate Council, the federal government’s nonpartisan commission on presidential and vice presidential debates, released the information surrounding this year’s debates. The information included times, dates, and locations.

According to the information released, the Council is deviating from the typical process, mandating two debates be held- one presidential, and one vice presidential. Last election featured a ticket debate, but it appears that the Council has chosen to scrap that due to time constraints that occurred four years ago.

The vice presidential debate will occur on October 1st in District 1. The debate will focus on multiple topics, including the records of the candidates, domestic policy, and foreign policy. Questions will be fielded from the audience in a townhall-style format with the lowest polling candidates to the left and right respectively moving in toward the highest polling candidates toward the center. The moderator will be Panem Free Press Capitol correspondent Carlton Beck. To compete, candidates must be of a major party (Liberty, Labor, Civic, Conservative, or Centre) or reach at least ten percent in three major polls. As it stands, the current participants will be:

  • Rebecca Tarson, Liberty Party nominee
  • Jace Walters, Labor Party nominee
  • Matthias Christian, Centre Party nominee
  • Delia Sutherland, Conservative Party nominee
  • Quentin Kennedy, Civic Party nominee

If the debate were to be held today, the seating arrangement would be:

Kennedy — Sutherland — Tarson — Walters — Christian

The presidential debate will occur on October 15th in the Capitol. The debate will also focus on multiple topics, particularly the candidates’ records, foreign policy, domestic policy, and economic policy. Questions will have been previously fielded from Panem citizens and will be asked by the moderator, who will be former White House press secretary Polaris Septrix. The debate will be held in traditional formatting, with the lowest polling candidates to the left and right respectively moving in toward the highest polling candidates toward the center. The polling standard to debate is the same as that of the vice presidential debate. As it currently stands, the participants shall be:

  • Peeta Mellark, Liberty Party nominee
  • Iris Canstrom, Labor Party nominee
  • Julie Roydon, Centre Party nominee
  • Kaitlyn Jones, Conservative Party nominee
  • Patrick Newsom, Civic Party nominee

The order of the candidates, if the debate were to be held today, would be:

Jones — Roydon — Mellark — Canstrom — Newsom