Debate #2 - Education

Professor Katherine Alicastell

Hogwarts Headmistress Wizengamot Interrogator
 
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Jesse
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Straight 9 ½ Inch Rigid Chestnut Wand with Unicorn Tail Hair Core
Age
10/1988
As the Headmistress of Hogwarts New Zealand, Katherine was both pleased and relieved to be directly involved in the second candidate debate, given that the topic was centered on education. The Ministry involving itself in the school outside of their general funding could be concerning, as history had shown, since not every decision was for the best, particularly if a Minister had no experience in education to speak of to begin with. The woman thought it important to be one of the first to know what potential future the school was facing, and what changes to be prepared for, if any. Not that there was necessarily a lot the woman felt the future Minister could improve upon that she herself could not, or had not already, nor what previous Ministers may have already done to benefit. Hogwarts had come a long way since its founding.

A number of podiums were set up around the semi-private location designated for the debate - one less than the previous debate had held, considering the absence of Matthias this time around. His candidacy had been cut short, and Katherine could not say she was all that surprised by the turn of events. The article on his arrest was troubling news, and it showed just how dangerous it could be to have the wrong kinds of people running, and potentially leading the wizarding community if gone unchecked. The Headmistress stood facing the empty podiums behind one of her own, dressed in her mauve formal robes for the occasion. With her prepared notes set in front of her, and a quill floating at her side, all that was left to do now was wait for the candidates to take their places so they could get underway.

Out of Character:
Note that this roleplay is only open for candidates to post in. Spectators and guests of the debate may post here if eligible. Bear in mind this debate, as with the previous, is being broadcasted, and you are encouraged to start your own topics tuning in in conjunction with this one for comments and reactions.

 

Claudia Holland

Minister of Magic | Mother of Four | Compassionate
 
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Daphne
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The second debate was in some ways less nerve-wracking than the first for Claudia. She knew what to expect a little more now, and who to watch out for. On the other hand, she felt more pressure to shine during this debate as she had placed education high on her priorities from the beginning. So much so, that Ioan Finch had already mocked her for it during the first debate. She would be careful of what she said around the other candidate during this debate. It was important to her that the debate was an exchange of ideas and beliefs, rather than a petty squabble. The news about Mr. Matthias had been a shock to her, and she couldn't help but glance at the podiums with his absence in mind. The man's views had seemingly coincided most with her own, though they had been more extreme. Now, it seemed he hadn't been truthful. She hoped this didn't mean the public would associate her views with the Scitorari.

Before heading to her podium, Claudia headed over to Professor Alicastell to shake her hand and quickly introduce herself. This was purely a professional meeting, but she still rather liked getting to meet the headmistress of the school her daughters attended. But she didn't linger, instead taking her place at her podium. With her back straight and her head high, she gave the smaller audience a confident smile. As she gazed into the crowd, she searched for her husband's face. Once she spotted him she gave him a softer smile. Claudia was happy he was here, and Grace as well. They weren't the people she had to convince, but their presence and support kept her going. Tearing her gaze away, she looked over at her fellow candidates. She was sure they had all heard about Mr. Matthias, and she wondered how that news was going to influence this debate.
 

Ioan Finch

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Ioan Finch entered the debate space just behind Claudia Holland. A lot had happened since their last debate, primarily that Metrophanes Matthias had managed to get himself arrested and imprisoned. Ioan had not been surprised by his capture, and indeed, the man's capture had made him feel more comfortable in his continued candidacy. The riff-raff had been weeded out, and he trusted the Scitorari enough to know they'd ensure Matthias didn't say anything he shouldn't. Surely, he was now their preferred candidate if he hadn't always been. Now, he needed to win over a few others, sharing the ideals he stood by as a member of the group.

Greeting the school's headmistress, Ioan settled into his space behind his podium, a nod of acknowledgement to Claudia and his fellow candidates. He knew that the Headmistress also sat on the Wizengamot and was interested in experimental charms, her office one of the few that attempted to help the magical community progress. He was quite curious to see her in action. Ioan didn't pay much attention to the polls that seemed to come out everyday, targeting this demographic and that. He was only focused on today's debate, his stance on education, and wondering who would put their foot in their mouth today.
 

Professor Katherine Alicastell

Hogwarts Headmistress Wizengamot Interrogator
 
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Katherine hadn't expected much interaction with the candidates outside of the topic discussion, so she was pleasantly surprised by Claudia choosing to approach her. There were a few Hollands in her school, and so the woman was one of the most familiar to her of the candidates. There had been more than one poster in the school corridor in support of her, and it was smart to bring awareness of politics into an environment that might not have paid much mind to it otherwise. Children could be so ignorant to the on-goings of the adult world, and how that would affect them, and it was beneficial to prepare them for the world ahead. Exchanging introductions, the Headmistress turned her attention to the others present, returning Ioan's greeting and waiting for everyone to settle in.

"Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us on this day. Please welcome our candidates for Minister of Magic - Claudia Holland, Ioan Finch, Dymetris Kozlov, Cat Tannon, Alexander Cade and Carter Kaster." With so many candidates remaining, and Metrophanes almost silent participation in the last debate, Katherine had to wonder if his absence would have been noticed, if not for the newspaper article detailing his arrest. "The topic of today's debate centers on education, and our candidates stances on the subject. How will our future Minister of Magic affect our schools, our childrens learning? Should there be changes made? These are the questions we're looking to answer today." The woman spoke from her podium, sifting through the small notes she held in her hands. "To start the debate off, we have a question from the public. A concerned student of Hogwarts has written in with this; What steps do you think could, or should be taken to educate people about magical minorities and reduce prejudice in our community? Hayley Eldrige, 15, Christchurch. Let it be noted that the magical minorities mentioned include muggleborns, squibs, lycanthropes and other sentient magical species. Candidates?" Katherine could not say she was at all surprised by the particular witch who had submitted the question, after the events of the previous year. Some of her opinions had been troubling, but netherless it was pleasing to see someone so young with so much passion, and a willingness to bring these discussions out into the world at large.
 

Carter Kaster

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The second debate of the campaign was now underway and Carter was honestly feeling a little more nervous here than he thought he would. His cousin had told him about what had happened at the school and with so many family members now in attendance, he felt it was almost his job to handle this appropriately. The topic of discussion was no secret, they'd all known about it for a long time, but Carter had never felt truly prepared for this. Education was not his forte and he would much rather eave this sort of thing to people, like Katherine, whom he held great respect for. Even his cousin would likely have some idea of what should be done given his new position. He greeted the other candidates as they took their positions and waited for the fun to begin. Once it did, the question did not surprise him. He knew that Aleksandra had attended some sort of meeting last year to do with this sort of thing, though he did not remember the name. Lyra too, had been involved and Link as well. That did not surprise him. Both the twins had strong heads and their love for their father was absolute.

"Understanding is important, fear of the unknown is often the oppressor of progress." He said, thinking back to his father. A line of pureblood before his mother, the Kasters certainly knew a thing or two about oppressing others. It was something in his family that he regretted. It wasn't always easy to see when you were wrong. "I, and I'm sure many other here as well, heard about what happened at Hogwarts last year. I'm sad to say that it all could have been prevented had there been a system in place. Random meetings, posters on walls, no regulation leads to something uncontrollable. You can never predict the actions of your neighbours. I can't say that I agree with what was done, but I certainly understand why someone might feel powerless. Students, children, are our future and I believe we have a responsibility to mould them into better people than we were. What is the point of striving for something better, if we only stop with us. The point is to drive a force for good that can be adopted and upheld by our children for years to come." Carter had veered slightly off topic and he coughed to clear his throat before bringing it back to his point. "We can't continue to educate only on the things we understand. We should learn more about what we don't, learn what others want and why there is this divide between minorities. Surely new blood in society can only strengthen an already strong people. Diversity doesn't make us weak, it makes us strong."
 

Claudia Holland

Minister of Magic | Mother of Four | Compassionate
 
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Claudia settled at her podium and waited for the debate to begin. When Professor Alicastell started speaking, she listened with a polite smile as she introduced the candidates. Looking down at her podium, she straightened her notes. She had work hard on them with Colin, and felt confident about her stance. She just hoped no entirely unexpected questions would pop up. But her vision on what the education system should be like was clear to her, so she felt confident. The first question was a pleasant surprise. It was exactly something that fit within her standpoints, and the sender was one of her daughter's friends. Claudia looked over at Carter as he started to respond. Though she wasn't sure what to make of him bringing up the girl's idea for revolution she had brought to the school. That wasn't what they were debating here, as her question was valid whether you agreed with her exact views or not. The man's actual answer to the question was something Claudia agreed with, but she felt like there was more to say.

"First, I would like to say that I applaud any young person with a political mind that wants to let themselves and their opinions be heard. This is not something that should be prevented. But the particular event Mr. Kaster is referring to is not actually relevant to the question, and I don't think it is our place to judge." She said, hoping that if the young girl was listening, it would help her feel more at ease. To hear your ideas and something you worked on be criticized by adults on the radio couldn't be easy. But now she had to focus on the actual question. Claudia stood a little taller and spoke clearly. "Education is the core of our society. If we want anything to change, we have to start there. Any hate and prejudice is born from ignorance, and i feel like we need to work harder to eradicate ignorance and replace it with knowledge and compassion. Like Mr. Kaster said, children are our future. If we want our future to be brighter, they need the tools to make it so." Now it was time to mention some concrete plans. It was easy to say some nice words about her beliefs, but she felt like the people deserved to know what goals she was going to strive for. "I think steps need to be taken to blur the lines between what's 'muggle'and what is 'wizarding'. Right now, there is a clear distinct like. Muggleborn students enroll into Hogwarts without almost any knowledge of the magical world, and they are left to figure out the details for themselves. Meanwhile, students from magical environments are never educated on anything muggle unless they choose to in their third year. I believe we need to add classes to the current curriculum. Muggle Studies could be mandatory for the first year for any student not from a muggle environment, and in a similar vein we should offer a class on the basics of the magical world to new muggleborns. These students should also be encouraged to interact more, to speak about their experiences and share them. This way, they learn from one another in a way that will increase their empathy for people different than themselves."

She realized she had been talking a lot and paused to take a drink of water. There was just one more thing she had to say. Speaking her ideas out loud was very exciting and she was eager to tell everyone what she had in mind, but she couldn't lose sight of those people already in positions of power and how they were working hard to achieve goals. Claudia didn't want to seem like she would trample everything already in place just to put her own ideas in motion. "Of course I would discuss this with the school to see what is feasible and realistic, but I feel like a more open discussion between people from different backgrounds can only help students be the best people they can be." She said with a nod at the headmistress before taking a small step back to indicate she had said her piece.
 

Ioan Finch

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Ioan was surprised by the decision to begin the debate with a question from the community. It threw him for a loop for a moment, but then he took note of the question. There had been a great deal of talk about how werewolves would be cared for in the last debate, so the question itself wasn't surprising. Listening to Carter answer as he jotted some notes down for himself, Ioan knew he would have to word his opinion appropriately for it to have a chance of being received well. The man paused, looking up as Carter spoke about something that had taken place at Hogwarts. With his daughter now graduated, he didn't often get news from the school but it piqued his interest even more so when Claudia seemed to try to deflect attention from it. Curious , he thought to himself, wondering why she would do so. Surely, to protect her children. It seemed the woman had a handful of them in the school. As the woman once again spoke of the changes she'd enact in the school, in front of the Headmistress no less, Ioan wondered if she'd given thought to how the woman who led the school might take her words. It seemed she did as she added a quite hasty addition towards the end of her spiel, an afterthought that she'd discuss with the school.

Ioan walked to the podium and took a moment before he began to speak. "First, I would like to thank Hayley for her question" he began, knowing he was the first to mention the girl by name. " My mother was a muggleborn and I have nieces who are part-veela, and though my daughter doesn't belong to either group, she was born with eyes that made people see her differently, so I do have experience seeing how some people in our community have treated them. Everyone has something that makes them different. Bullying is dangerous, but I think talk of blurring the lines between worlds is equally dangerous." Ioan let that sink in and then continued. " When we send our students to Hogwarts, it is for them to receive magical education, and while I do believe educating our children on all of the different magical minorities would be helpful, I don't believe that I would make any changes to the school itself without first seeing how the Headmistress views this issue. I think the Headmistress is doing a far better job than the previous Headmistress in keeping our children safe from bullying and ensuring they are learning the magic they are there for. We should not place responsibilities on the school that should be held by parents and the community at large."

Changing his mind about his next comment, Ioan glossed over that piece as he decided to save it for later. "I do believe the Ministry could provide additional support for our parents to better help their children not grow up prejudiced or bullied or to be prejudiced or bullies. The Ministry is obviously doing a poor job of educating its own community on magical minorities and with some transparency I think you'll see improvements everywhere. Our muggleborn children do receive a small orientation to the wizarding world when they receive their letter. It is a service provided by the ministry, but it is obviously not enough to help them and others grow accustomed to the world they are joining. I'd propose additional support for muggleborn students and not simply when they get their letter. I would ask them to participate in workshops that will take place in the Ministry meant to teach these children our customs so they can better assimilate." Ioan knew his pureblood friends would not be happy about this concession but he also knew their desire for no muggleborns was unrealistic. "Finally, during the last debate, I spoke about support services for werewolves. I believe in light of Hayley's question, the Ministry could develop a new office for all wizards, especially magical minorities, where they could bring complaints and receive support." Ioan knew his ministry would be a transparent ministry.
 

Cat Tannon

Eidetic memory | Daily Prophet Reporter | Cats!
 
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Cat was excited to be at the next debate already. Time seemed to be flying, and though it was tougher than she expected it to be, that was okay, because she knew that being the Minister would call for tough times. She was glad that Matthias had been caught out when he had, and it made her more wary of the other candidates, though she assumed they'd be wary of her as well. Cat took to her podium, thinking about the question that was asked. She noticed that most of the candidates spoke mainly about muggleborns, and Cat thought about Squibs, and how hard that must be for them. "As we discussed in the previous debate, education of these problems in the most important thing. Being a muggleborn, being a squib, lycanthropy, different blood - none of these should be, or are shameful. Nobody is asked to be born the way they are, and so - I agree with educating not only students, but adults as well about the differences to people in life, to make sure that there are no privileges for people unless they've earned it. Educate not only the wizarding families, but muggle families with magical children, wizarding families with squib relatives, and the squibs on how to live in this magical world. Everybody has a right to live a wonderful life, and their best life."
 

Dymetris Kozlov

Al. Hufflepuff | Healer
 
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The second debate couldn't come soon enough, though a part of him greatly wished to delay it a little more. With the news of Matthias and all the trouble that surrounds him, it made him a bit uneasy around the others. How did Matthias happened, how sure were the vetting process in selecting candidates these days? While, some looked at ease and didn't seemed at all bother with the outing of candidate, this piled on a whole new set of worries for him. That won't do. He forced himself to refocus and get back into debating mode. If there was something to take from Matthias's outing was to be able to handle a situation no matter the level intensity. Situation like this were bound to happen at minister level, it's the actions that one takes that mattered above anything else.

"Thank you for that question Ms. Eldrige, it's an important question that hits home to me. Personally, my family and myself have dealt with some level of prejudice growing up. And it's not because of what we were, but because of the type of family I grew up in. A household of two mothers wasn't consider traditional in some parts of the world. I believe many are still, even now are still fighting to make sense of what I have always considered normal growing up." Dymetris smiles, though it still pains some days what his parents have to go through and how it's been effecting his brother. There were easier days and days that were difficult, and one just had to manage and figure them out on their own. "Having felt that personally, what I'm suggesting is we take minor steps in the right direction. We all want a more open and inclusive community. It sounds fine and dandy, but as I take a good look of the ministry, I've noticed were failing at being diverse. From those that are mixed blood or just those from different ethnicity, we can't expect change if the change not happening from very high levels. We need to broaden and welcome others of all kind. Young adults, young teens are inspired by those who they can look up to. And if there no one like them to represent them, how will they be inspired to join the ministry? We need to reform the way we recruit others and make it possible for them to join." Dymetris said, finishing off his last bit.
 

Alexander Cade

Deputy Minister
 
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Dan
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Alexander felt he had done reasonably well in the first debate but he was more nervous for the second one as education wasn't an area he had thought much about but he knew he would need a well rounded platform if he wanted to win the election though even in the early stages of the contest he knew he was someway behind Claudia Holland who seemed to have the perfect answer to everything. Alexander made his way onto the debate stage with his fellow candidates and waited for the event to start.

Once the first question was asked and his fellow candidates answered. As usual Claudia hit the nail on the head with her answer and it would be a struggle to follow her without repeating her words. "As usual Mrs Holland is spot on, children are the future and the only way we will eliminate intolerance is through the education of our children and Mrs Holland is right about prejudice being born from ignorance, some children come to the school with preexisting prejudice that can come from their families, it is important that their time in education properly informs them of the reality that magical minorities are no different than so called 'purebloods', we have seen muggle borns rise to high ranking positions in the ministry, while there is a prejudice against muggle borns they are not actively put down by the larger population however this is not the case with minorities such as werewolves as we have seen recently by the recent killings there is a still a deep prejudice against minorities and we can not shy away from educating students about these groups,"
 

Professor Katherine Alicastell

Hogwarts Headmistress Wizengamot Interrogator
 
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As Carter spoke up first, Katherine had to refrain from frowning. The way the man spoke about Hogwarts made it sound almost as if he were talking about a Scitorari invasion within the castle, rather than a schoolyard altercation. Perhaps he had heard a far more exaggerated story than an accurate telling of what had actually taken place. She also couldn't be sure why he thought students posting things was a concern either, as they had done so for years to keep their peers informed of events and the like. If anything, it should have been encouraged for children to take an active role.

Claudia's suggestion to make muggle studies a compulsory subject for magical children was also one Katherine was not too impressed by. The wizarding world and the muggle world were separate, and trying to change one to be more like the other was almost insulting. Forcing children to learn about a whole way of life that they could possibly go their whole lives barely interacting with seemed likely to create more contempt for muggle-borns than benefitting them. There were less aggressive ways to educate prejudiced children. There was also no advocating for a Goblin Studies, or Giant Studies, despite these minorities also existing, which she noted. Not to mention suggesting a class dedicated to teaching muggleborns about the magical world - almost as if they weren't at a school dedicated to that specific thing, was itself slightly humorous. Katherine distinctly recalled History of Magic being a subject in the schools curriculum. The Headmistress did agree wholly that more could be done to assist with muggle-borns adjusting to the wizarding world, but the suggestions given were a little more idealistic than realistic. The last time Katherine had checked, both purebloods and muggle-borns learned the same things at the same rate. How to brew potions, how to cast spells, how to fly brooms. Things most wizarding children were unable to do themselves prior to Hogwarts regardless of blood status. People seemed to forget that even Purebloods were technically a minority in this day and age. Very few people could boast true purity, and pureblooded students were far outweighed by half or mixed blooded. Katherine believed Claudia did have the best of intentions, but her ideas could have used a little work. Her focus had been a little too targeted toward muggle-borns, when the question had been much broader.

Ioan's opinions were ones Katherine agreed more strongly with - and not because he'd complimented her efforts thus far. It was important to remember that they were wizards first and foremost, and that the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few. The man's suggestions were more realistic, and more fair to the community as a whole. Of the candidates, it seemed Finch and Holland were the only ones offering real suggestions so far, whilst the rest seemed to simply agree that yes, education is a good idea. It was easy to give an opinion on something, it was another thing entirely to offer a resolution. "Thank you, candidates. I'd like to go back to the comment on school subjects and classes, as Mrs Holland brought up. As a whole, what changes, if any at all, would our candidates propose to make to the curriculum? Do any of you believe more could be taught to our youth, that isn't already?" There range of subjects was broad, and had been unchanged since the schools founding. While the Headmistress believed them to be more than adequate, whether the future Minister thought the same would be interesting to know, particularly since one candidate had proposed additions already, and changes to one of the existing electives.
 

Claudia Holland

Minister of Magic | Mother of Four | Compassionate
 
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Claudia listened to the other candidates, not surprised Ioan didn't agree with her though she was a little surprised their ideas were fairly similar. He just didn't think Hogwarts was the right place for it, but as it was already a magical school almost all New Zealand children attended, Claudia felt like it would be less disruptive to simply add to the curriculum rather than cart kids to the Ministry and back. She also couldn't help but frown at his snide remark about the previous headmistress. Was he simply trying to score points? It seemed odd to her. Cat, Dymetris and Alexander seemed to generally agree, though they didn't offer many specific ideas.

The new question was one Claudia had already answered in part, but she decided to elaborate on her point. "I don't have any other changes I would propose for the curriculum. The school educates our children well and in a broad range of different subjects. My reasoning for my earlier suggestions is my belief that we are stronger united. I believe we can learn many things from muggles. I feel like we need to stop seeing muggles and wizards as wholly separate groups. Many wizards venture into the muggle world at least periodically, and even those who don't can learn from their way of thinking and finding non-magical solutions to problems. Muggleborn children are indeed already offered support, but adjusting to an entire new world is something that takes time. I simply wish to assist children in adapting more quickly and find out about the details of our world in a safe and regulated setting." Claudia was a little worried she came across as if she wanted to uproot the entire school system. She did not. Her beliefs were firm, but she knew she was not an educator. Before implementing any ideas, she would sit down with more knowledgeable people in this area and discuss things thoroughly first, and she was definitely open to adapting her ideas to something that fit better. "I want to reiterate that I'm very happy with the current curriculum. I'm simply offering ideas that I feel would help our children have a more broad world view. If I were Minister, I would want to talk to the right people about what's feasible to implement before even thinking about making changes."
 

Ioan Finch

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Ioan listened to the rest of the candidates speak though the whole 'children are our future' spiel grew tiresome after the third time he heard it. He rather thought Cat Tannon would make a good Scitorari. It was often those who were declared dark wizards who became the homeless she so often mentioned when she spoke. Ioan's agenda, much like the Scitorari itself, was to make people see that they simply wanted to be treated equally and for people to stop seeing all that they did as dark and bad. He couldn't understand why it was considered so bad to want magic as a whole to be expanded and not limited based on one person's decisions. By the time Alexander was nearing the end of his answer, Ioan was, on the whole, more attentive as he knew Katherine Alicastell would be moving them along. The man's eyebrows lifted at the question. He hadn't been expecting that, but after a moment, he scribbled a reply down, the first one that popped into his head.

As Claudia spoke, Ioan found himself raising an eyebrow again at her comments about muggle and wizard relations. She wasn't blatantly coming out and saying it, but Ioan almost got the sense that she believed that wizards needed to learn from muggles. "Before I address your question, I'd like to comment on what Mrs. Holland has said. I may not agree with the current Ministry on most things, but I do think that their continued inclusion of the statute of secrecy is important. Muggles and wizards are wholly separate groups, for our safety more than for theirs. We're quite capable of doing most anything that muggles do, and usually more efficiently, with our magic so there's not much need to find non-magical solutions to problems." Ioan prided himself on being a member of the wizarding community and took great offense to the idea that muggles could teach wizards anything that they didn't already do better. It was one thing to talk about helping muggleborns. They were wizards, after all. It was quite another to talk about muggles.

"I don't claim to be an expert on the Hogwarts curriculum and what should be included in it or taken out of it. I am a potions master by trade, however, so if it isn't already taught, I can't miss the opportunity to suggest a course or additional lessons on Alchemy. It should be an art that never dies in our world, and I believe it is in potions and the like that we have a great deal of room for innovation and progress that our children can benefit from" he stated with a nod before moving back to his position. Some of the members of his particular subgroup did specialize in alchemical work, though most of their learning had been on their own.
 

Alexander Cade

Deputy Minister
 
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Alexander hadn't thought much about education while he was planning his campaign but he considered himself quite lucky as he had looked into the curriculum of Hogwarts New Zealand while his niece was getting ready to start at the school and that knowledge helped him come up with some ideas as the campaign had progressed. After listening to the remarks by Ioan and Claudia it was clear they had different ideas and one was clearly more informed than the other. "I know a little about the curriculum, my niece has just started and I have family already there and who have recently graduated, I think the curriculum as it is is pretty solid but it could of course benefits from some minor tweaks, if I could refer back to a comment by Mrs Holland during the previous question, I think muggle studies should be made a mandatory class for first years entering the school and taught through to graduation, it would help pureblood and children from majority magical backgrounds to understand their muggle born classmates and perhaps it can reduce the development of prejudice in young minds," Alexander knew he was partly answering a question they had moved on from but he was killing two birds with one stone. "I'd like to see more support given to students in their upper years as they look to decide their future careers, I think the recent career fair initiative is a fantastic idea and I hope the event continues to grow,"
 

Professor Katherine Alicastell

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"Thank you, candidates." Katherine said once they'd given their responses. Holland almost seemed to want to prioritise muggles and muggle-borns over the magical community. As wizards, there was no need to find non-magical solutions to problems. They were magical at their very core, something they were all born with, wands or no wands, and it was sounded as if she thought they should impair themselves for no real reason other than to be more like muggles. It was like asking them to learn how to go on without their sense of touch, or sight, or hearing, even if they had access to all of those senses. If the woman wanted to become the Minister of Magic, putting the magical community first was a definite must. Finch voiced the unspoken opinions Katherine had, and while she respected his stance on education, there was still a long way to go and more discussions to be had regarding the rest of the magical community before she felt comfortable supporting any one candidate. Finch's suggestion of including Alchemy was a decent one, but ultimately, it was down to interest. It wasn't often enough that there were enough students interested in the subject to make it a regular elective, just as it had been with the original Hogwarts. Cade chimed in with a repeat of Holland's earlier suggestion, and Katherine made note to have a very lengthy discussion with whomever was elected and tried to implement a mandatory Muggle Studies class. "Hogwarts New Zealand educates our children for seven years, starting from the age of eleven. If we look not too far across the ocean, we see that institutes like Mahoutokoro, in Japan, accept students from as early as the age of seven, whom are educated during the day, until a time they are old enough to board as our students do. Here, it is the parents that are expected to teach their children until that time. However, not all parents are capable of, or have the time to do this themselves. Some of you may have heard that recently, some members of our community have tried to organise gatherings to help educate these younger children, right here in Brightstone Village. Conversely, there are foreign institutes designed to assist with furthering magical education post-Hogwarts, specialised or otherwise. Should there be more learning options available here in our home of New Zealand for both witches and wizards old and young, rather than sending them to other countries to pursue more education, and what could the Ministry do to make further education more easily accessible by our community."
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Claudia Holland

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As Claudia listened to the other candidates, she felt herself grow a little frustrated with Ioan Finch. He seemed to be twisting her words on purpose. She hadn't mentioned the statute of secrecy at all, but his words made it sound like she was a supporter of getting rid of it. She was not, and was kind of glad to be able to address it. "Before I answer this question, I would like to react to Ioan Finch." She said as Professor Alicastell brought up a new question. "Mr. Finch, I would like to point out I did not mention the statute of secrecy. I agree that it is important to keep this in place the way it currently is, and would never claim otherwise. I am aware that wizards and muggles are separate in many ways, but we are all human. In order to grow as a society, I feel like learning from other groups of people is something we should open ourselves up to. I am not advocating a mixing of the two worlds entirely, but simply a more open-minded and less superior view towards muggles and their society.

With that, she turned her focus back on the Headmistress to address the current question. She was glad to hear it, as it was something she had a strong opinion about as well. And it was something she had included in her standpoints from the beginning. Claudia was starting to feel the debate so far had focused a little too much on one part of her views, so she was glad to be able to elaborate. "I feel like pre-Hogwarts education is a must, and something we need to work on. The initiative here in Brightstone has been wonderful, and as Minister I would make sure to support and fund such ideas. Parents who want to give their children a magical education before Hogwarts should have that choice, as not every parent is able to do that themselves. I do feel Hogwarts should remain the way it is, teaching children from age eleven. I'm also in favor of a post-Hogwarts education as a possibility. For that, I would focus on specialization in certain kinds of magic. Hogwarts does an excellent job of teaching our children the basics, but many branches of magic have plenty of subjects left to be explored. I feel like this is somewhere Alchemy could have a place." She said with a nod to Mr. Finch. "But also more in-depth courses on Divination, Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, and Enchantment come to mind. I won't claim I have a specific plan for this right now, but I am eager to look into possibilities and sit down with current Hogwarts professors to see what parts of their subjects could offer more in-depth schooling." Her own ideas had focused more on education before Hogwarts and education forSquibs. For an education after Hogwarts she felt like she had to talk to experienced educators before speaking about specific possibilities. Many of them were currently in the audience, and she wondered how they felt about the discussions so far.
 

Ioan Finch

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Ioan wasn't surprised when Claudia felt the need to comment on what he'd said. He'd obviously touched a nerve there, and was pleased especially as she affirmed his thoughts that she had been thinking of mixing the two worlds in some part. But she was seeking votes and was trying to be careful to not say exactly how much. He could see that and hoped others could as well. Someone like Claudia Holland as Minister was just as dangerous as someone like Metrophanes.

"I think I would be reluctant to impose any additional mandatory education prior to students arriving at Hogwarts New Zealand at age eleven. If we truly want all of our students to be on the same page, isn't it a disadvantage to our Muggle born students to mandate our magical children to receive lessons that would put them at a further advantage to all of the other magical minorities and other magical children once all of the students begin their first year? And, inviting muggleborn children younger than eleven into our world could prove to be an even more difficult transition for them and their families than they currently experience. I don't know if I'd have allowed my children to board any younger than they already did, and they've lived in the magical world their entire lives." Ioan paused for a moment, and then realized he had one more thing to add. "I also know that Hogwarts education is provided at no cost to the children currently and I wouldn't want to see that change any time soon, and I am not sure that adding additional years would not prove taxing to the current economy." He knew that no one was mentioning money, but any Minister would have to weigh the cost benefits of any new ventures. Running his own potions business meant that Ioan did think about money.

"I do believe that post-Hogwarts career training could be beneficial for many of our children. Training such that the Healers get and such that Aurors get for their careers should be developed for additional career tracks. Opportunities to learn under people already in the career they'd like as well as furthering skills they will use in these careers, I thinkand that would be of great benefit to graduating Hogwarts students " he declared. Ioan knew that his daughter had struggled since leaving because, in spite of being Head Girl, her grades had not been perfect for the position she had wanted. She had been working hard since that denial to learn the skills they wanted so she could apply again.
 

Cat Tannon

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They were pretty heavily loaded questions, but what else did anyone expect when trying to decide who should run the country? Cat listened, and was quite interested in what the others were discussing, even Ioan and Claudia debating between themselves. Cat had to stop herself from almost rolling her eyes when Ioan mentioned there should be more Alchemy; just because he fancied it, didn't mean that everyone else had to suffer the consequence. "I definitely think that there could be more training after school - you never stop learning, and why not better qualify yourself for the job you want? If we offer more training in New Zealand, then students and adults don't have to go overseas. Obviously this will require work to build up amble opportunities and studies, but working with the schools here and around the world, I believe we can catch New Zealand up to speed. Prior to Hogwarts, there should be optional schools, or daycares. If parents want or need to send their children somewhere to learn beforehand, they should have the opportunity to do so. Whilst these options may prove taxing to our economy, if we are educating and providing more education and jobs in our country, then we'll keep our finances within our country as well - rather than sending our people overseas."
 

Dymetris Kozlov

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Dymetris couldn't seem to get a word in this debate. He went from vouching for a more diverse ministry, to witnessing the on going between Claudia and Ioan. Both seemed to butt heads more than once in this debate. Dymetris was growing tired of it, but if there was nothing to argue about, then there was no point in debating here in the first place. "As former students of Hogwarts, I have no problem with the current curriculum. In fact, over the years I've heard Hogwarts has become a little less assertive when it comes to the student choosing and dropping lessons of their own choice. And choice, should be a given right to all students. Make sure they keep up with the basic, like charm for example and potion. I believe those are two subjects that any student can benefit from, and then from there on let it be there choice. They can choose to have an elective or not. They can choose to take up Herbology, but it's not for them so they drop it. I applaud Hogwarts for that, would've loved that option while I was attending school." Dymetris started off, then he switch his attention to prior Hogwarts and then post Hogwarts. He hadn't a clue what it was like being here at younger age. He had come from Russia as soon as he turned eleven and went to Hogwarts right away. "Before Hogwarts, again a choice for family to start them out young. Kids come from different backgrounds, we make it mandatory enough to attend school at eleven. Before that, it's up to parents or guardianship if they want to send their kids to a day program that's their choice. I'm just afraid not everyone will have the same opportunity as some. When it becomes selective, that's when we should worried."

He really couldn't offer any solution there. The same could be said about post Hogwarts, however, as he reflect on it some more something came in mind. "Work studies? Students pair up with a professional, anywhere in New Zealand and they learn and absorb the profession as much as they can. I would suggest it be a program, again not mandatory but a program that is available to anyone interested. That way students have an idea what they want to accomplish in their future. They will have many chances, from fifth year and up. Maybe younger to be able participate in the program. By the time they finish school, they'll have a good idea what they want to do and in which direction they're headed. Too many stay stuck in limbo, and I was unfortunately one of them. I became a healer eventually, but I wished I had a chance to look into it while I study at Hogwarts so that I could've made that choice sooner."
 

Professor Katherine Alicastell

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Katherine agreed with Mrs Holland stating how pre-Hogwarts education was a must, but not necessarily that that education had to be entirely magical. It was something that Finch too brought up, suggesting an education for younger wizards would put children to a disadvantage, when in fact it may be the muggle-borns who had the advantage in some areas, since they were taught from the ages of roughly five years old. There were subjects that could be considered neither muggle nor magical. English, geography, mathematics. Subjects that were necessary to know by all people, and weren't always able to be taught in-depth by parents who were too busy working to keep food on their tables. Sending wizarding children to muggle schools was an option, but that option wasn't always ones particular parents were fond of, and also came with the risks of breaking the Statute of Secrecy when their children started to exhibit magical capabilities. The risks were extremely low, but still present.

Holland's comment on post-Hogwarts education was not one Katherine had expected. Her choices of the subjects to go more in-depth into would not have been the Headmistress' first picks. Divination was an odd pick, as was Arithmancy, and while Ancient Runes was more useful in specific careers, four years seemed like enough to learn a written language, and could be improved upon through the uses of translation guides instead of needing its own course. Ioan's comment on the difficulties of allowing younger muggle-born students to receive a magical education at a younger age was also not an opinion Katherine was so sure she agreed with. After all, the younger muggle children were, the more receptive they were to the idea that magic existed. Surely, the earlier they started, the easier they would find transitioning into the community to be. Their families too, were potentially better off knowing their child was a witch of wizard from a younger age, instead of the shock of finding out eleven years later. There were muggle-born children out there who were shunned by their parents because of the strange and unexplainable things happening around them, built upon by ignorance to the magical world, which created an unhealthy environment for them to grow up in.

It seemed Finch had misunderstood the Headmistress as he further stated he likely would not have allowed his children to board any younger than they were. She had specifically stated the pre-Hogwarts option as a day-school, not a boarding one, but perhaps he was unfailiar with Mahoutokoro's system and so had not entirely understood the question. It was interesting to note, too, the money involved in funding more education. Muggles afforded multiple pre-schools, primary schools, high schools and universities. There were over two thousand five hundred non-magical schools in the country, knowledge Katherine had made her job to know upon taking up her position in Hogwarts. The Headmistress did not expect the Ministry to be able to compete with those numbers, given they were already working with such limited concealed spaces, but she certainly thought they could do better than only the one school in the country. If other countries had institutes such as the Flying Academy, or the Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts, or Mahoutokoro's day-school, New Zealand should be stepping up its education to do just as well.

The Headmistress nodded to Tannon's response, and as Kozlov mentioned work studies, the woman found herself intrigued. The Careers Fair had been a great idea, but it was one thing to learn about a career in theory, and another to experience it for oneself. The opportunity for students to try their hand at different jobs to see which they were truly drawn to was a good idea, as some students did still feel a sense of uncertainty, or a lack of direction in their lives as they came to the end of their learning, and experience could be exactly what they needed.

"Interesting ideas. Thank you, candidates. Moving on to the next question - Should aspiring professors be given a more formal training by the Ministry, perhaps more specifically the Department of Education, in order to ensure they are truly prepared for the environment they're coming in to?" It was one thing to be knowledgeable enough about a specific subject to teach others about it, but being a professor was more than just the subject you taught. It was how to appropriately deal with students, how to be fair, unbiased, and knowing what you could or could not say in a professional capacity. Professors weren't always experienced in these things, the responsibilities and stresses.
 

Claudia Holland

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Claudia rather enjoyed listening to the other candidates and their ideas. Ioan got on her nerves occasionally, but he did have clear ideas. She did think he had understood the question in a different way than she had, though. And she didn't think his views on muggleborn children younger than eleven being invted into their world would hold true. In her opinion, it was like learning a second language. The younger you started, the easier it was to adjust and learn. Cat's response was good too, but Claudia frowned a little at Dymetris' response about pre-Hogwarts education. Much like Ioan, he mentioned it being mandatory. In the question nor in any of the responses had it been mentioned as mandatory. Claudia was simply a supporter of offering more choice to parents. She was pleasantly surprised to hear Dymetris' idea about a work studies program. It sounded like an excellent idea, and she made a mental note to talk to him about it later. Claudia didn't think it was bad to learn from her fellow candidates, as long as she stayed firm in her own beliefs.

The new question threw Claudia for a bit of a loop. Even as a minister candidate, she didn't feel like it was really her place to criticize how Hogwarts was run. As far as she knew, the Professors were qualified for their jobs. If they weren't, the Headmistress wouldn't have hired them or kept them on. After a brief pause, she spoke. "I currently have four children at Hogwarts, and from everything I hear from them I believe the teachers are skilled at educating students within their own subjects. I have no reason to believe they are lacking in any way, and do not want to impose on the right of the Headmistress to run the school how she sees fit. This is the sort of thing I would want to speak with school administration about, not something I can decide on my own. That said, I would like to offer training programs for Professors in subjects they would want to explore. Perhaps programs about different learning strategies, educational development, and ways to make lessons more interactive. But I would sit down with the Headmistress and Professors themselves to find out what they feel is needed or simply what they wish to learn more about.
 

Dymetris Kozlov

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It felt like he would be repeating himself again with this next question given. He had to buckle down and not mindlessly tossed things out there without deliberating over for a minute. The funny thing is, he taught one semester and had struggle a bit keeping up with the schedule. Mistakenly, he kept his post at St. Mungos while he taught the students at Hogwarts. Dymetris, pulled back and tune over to Claudia. There no doubt she'd make a great Minister of Magic. And yet, he worries how much of a change she will impose in all that is New Zealand. If changes were to occur, will there be the option withdraw and recall the former? How much of the public is involved making these decisions, that's what he would like to know.

"Might I just say, before I discuss the possible training for inspiring professors, there is a sort of lack in the public opinion going on here. Turning to the experts and ministry officials is very candid and I don't argue with that. However, we need the citizen of New Zealand being more involved in some of these decisions and ideas we're coming up with. Not necessarily everything, but for instance, with education being the subject here. How about students at Hogwarts voting for Claudia's idea of pre-education or my idea of work studies? Ultimately, they should at least get a say in this particular matter. Also, I am crediting Ioan for that idea of work studies, he said post and having live through that, during just sounded a lot better. Learning from experience." Dymetris went on. "Having said that, a possible age requirement when it comes to hiring professors. Teaching for one semester and being a former students at Hogwarts, professors do the best they can to teach the standard material that's put in place. Sometimes, they go above and beyond. If there should be anyone to train inspiring professors, it really should be them. A professor's aide or assistant, which ever ones prefer, could be a new position held at Hogwarts. But, then again, I'm worried it might be a hassle for professors too." Dymetris said this, gesturing and with a nod. He was satisfied, yes, and there was that part of him wish to say more. He no expert in education, except he did attend Hogwarts and witness that environment personally.
 

Alexander Cade

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There was a lot to digest from the responses of the other candidates and the more Alexander talked the more he had begun to sound like a mouthpiece for the Holland campaign. He seemed to agree with a lot of what the woman said but echoing her words would only strengthen her campaign at his own expense, he needed to separate himself from the others. "I think its important to express that HNZ as a school is currently doing a good job in educating young people, a member of my own family recently graduated and I'm very impressed with the young man he became, while we should never settle for good enough it is almost important to know when not to enact change for the sake of change," The last thing Alexander wanted was to come across as status quo guy but he couldn't endorse change he didn't believe in. "What works in other countries doesn't necessarily have to be implemented here, while I do not think the years of education need to be expanded I do think it is important for children to interact with each other before starting school, a problem with the current home school method of pre-Hogwarts education is that they miss out on growing up around children their own age in many cases so in this respect I think daycare options need to be looked into and I have seen more of this happening in recent moths and I can only applaud the people taking the initiative but I think we can all agree there needs to be more, although I think it could be a good idea for the ministry to come up with a guideline for home schooling children so that first years coming into school with have similar levels of knowledge, but of course I would never suggest the ministry enforced such guidelines, at the end of the day any pre-school education is optional and up to the discretion of the parent but I think parents who choose to home school their young children may not always have the best idea where to start and there should be help available if they ask for it,"

Satisfied with his answer Alexander took a sip of water as the Headmistress moved onto the next question and a couple of candidates took their turns answering. "I think most of us can agree that what we don't want to see if the ministry getting too involved and over regulating the school in particular in regards to curriculum and teacher training, I believe the current process of hiring teachers and having them teach a combination of a curriculum set by the school which is backed up with the professor's own experience seems to be working, I've had no complaints regarding the standard of teaching from any of the Cade children past or present and with that in mind I see no reason to meddle with something that isn't broken," He hated saying it particularly after hearing the responses from the other candidates but Alexander saw no reason for change in the process of hiring teachers or their training, radical or otherwise.
 

Ioan Finch

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Ioan listened to the others as they replied. Kozlov's mention of post career training was no different from his own idea, so he continued to feel as if he as in a good position going into the final question. As he'd expected, the Headmistress had brought some very thought provoking questions to this debate. He'd expected and prepared for it, and he hoped that came across to those listening. The education system was not his strongest of the three topics they'd be discussing during their debates, but Ioan was still certain he'd held his own.

As they transitioned to the next question, Ioan was unsurprised to see Claudia stepped up first. He listened to her carefully, surprise that in spite of her mention of prejudice and muggleborns needing to be understood, she made no mention of professors being given training in this regard. She'd pandered to the muggleborns the entire debate and when she could have proposed some real change for them, she had let them down. Ioan had always wondered if she actually cared as much about muggleborns as she pretended to. This was an indication to him that perhaps she did not. Ioan nodded his head as Dymetris acknowledged that they'd shared the same idea, respecting the man for doing so. He listened to Cade as he responded and when the man finished, Ioan moved forward.

"Earlier I mentioned an idea for developing training programs specific to careers, so I would say yes to developing an opportunity for aspiring professors to begin to gain knowledge on what they can expect when they find their way into a classroom. While it might be easier for the Ministry's education departments to play host to these opportunities, I would certainly find it prudent for the Ministry to work with you, Headmistress Alicastell, in determining what it is that incoming professors need to know." Ioan was still surprised that no one had mentioned the muggleborns here, but he didn't care about them any more than he cared about any of the other students so he wasn't going to. " I know one of the concerns that my daughter had was the constant changing of professors, so if there is something that we can assist with at the Ministry to help stabilize this, with perhaps formal training of aspiring professors, then I don't see why we shouldn't provide that assistance to you, Headmistress. The Ministry should serve as an aid to Hogwarts New Zealand and provide whatever it is you need to keep your school running effectively, and I believe that can be done without becoming overly involved and preventing you all from doing what you do best, teaching each generation of witches and wizards."he stated, making sure to make eye contact with the Headmistress and then the professors sitting in the front rows. With a smile, the man returned to his position, wondering what they would need to discuss next.
 

Professor Katherine Alicastell

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Katherine frowned slightly as Mrs Holland responded. Certainly, she hired capable staff, and the way the school ran was perfectly fine now, but that didn't mean it had always been that way in the past, or would continue to be sometime in the future. When institutes such as the original Hogwarts had wizards like Gilderoy Lockhart as members of their staff in the past, it showed how low the bar was set. A skilled Herbologist did not necessarily make a decent Herbology professor, if they did not know how to conduct themselves properly around impressionable youths, but they could with the right preparation and training. The Headmistress had enough to do without having to make sure her staff knew what they could or could not say in the vicinity of students, particularly after the recent accusations of discrimination from some of them, which is why she had asked in the first place. Katherine went to lengths to ensure she was hiring the right people for the job, and it would have been made a lot easier if their resumes included a reference from the Ministry to show they were already prepared for the responsibilities they would face. Of course she wasn't asking that Holland herself, or any of the other potential Ministers to specifically come up with these programs either. That's what their departments were for - people actually experienced in these particular subjects, who knew what they were doing, and how the system worked. These were the people Katherine expected to interact with, but it was the approval of the Minister they needed to get any of these suggestions underway. A Minister of Magic wasn't expected to know everything there was to know about education, or crime, or anything else the departments specialised in, that's was the point of the Ministry as a whole.

The inexperience of a Minister in subjects such as education became very evident as Kozlov spoke up, with the ridiculous suggestion that children have input on pre- or post-education options. Children who were more likely to ask for a fountain of neverending butterbeer than to have any legitimate opinion on these adult topics. Few children knew what was best for them. Many certainly thought they did, but they lacked the adquate experience to really understand. The man's suggestion of an age requirement was one Katherine did like, as she didn't believe anyone fresh out of school would make a capable professor. Professors needed to be mature people, and twenty-year-olds were not always that. Unfortunately, sometimes there were slim pickings, and these youths were her only option for staff members. Which was exactly why the Ministry could have done with offering these training programs, to broaden the pool of educators in the community.

Cade, much like Holland, made mention of relatives of his having a good experience at the school. It was pleasing to hear, but their childrens experiences did not reflect the experiences of the hundreds of other students in the school. Hogwarts wasn't perfect, just like most things in the world, but Katherine did her best to make it the best experience it could be for its staff and students. The Headmistress could only do so much, however. She wasn't suggesting the Ministry become over-involved in the school, just that more of its assistance would be appreciated. Katherine had no intent to allow the new Minister to come in and try to take over, what she was looking to do was to work together to improve upon the current system. It was a shame that some of the candidates couldn't yet understand that.

Of the candidates, Finch continued to seem the most realistic, and the most understanding of what more could be done for the topic of education. He hit the nail on the head with the mention of changing staff, a problem that may be resolved if they were better prepared for the position. As to who would make for the best Minister overall, that was yet to be seen, but Katherine had more of an inkling now into which of them could benefit the education system the most. It seemed that was all the time they had for today, so once everyone had wrapped up their responses, Katherine spoke. "I'd like to thank the candidates for being here today, and giving further insight to what we may expect if they are elected. Appropriately for the discussion, I'm sure this has been a learning experience for us all. I'd like to extend that thanks to those who have joined us here today, and to those listening in from home, or wherever you may be tuned in at this time. It is important to stay informed, and it is your votes that will decide who leads our country into the future. That concludes todays debate. Until next time."
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