Mayor Tim Hanna visits North to help promote debate


Arthur Koenig, News Editor

Debate and journalism are two topics that are often connected, and here in our community, it’s no exception. Appleton North’s debate team held an event on Jan. 7, where they promoted the club, and even held a lively debate in front of a celebrity guest; Mayor Tim Hanna. The Mayor sat in as Leona Wong, Amanda Padgett, and Anant Kaushika passionately argued for their positions on the issue of prescription drug costs. Afterwards, I was able to speak with the Mayor about debate and why he believes it is so important.

Mayor Tim Hanna explained that his involvement with Appleton West’s debate team when he was a student there has helped him throughout his life, and is “a big reason why I am where I am today.” He also elaborated, talking in detail about debate in relation to today’s media, and political climate.

“Debate, at any level, is so important because it teaches people to argue civilly, organize their thoughts, and listen to the other side. Unfortunately, that seems to be going away these days.”

The Mayor consistently made the point that the media’s primary function is to report the facts and let others decide where they stand. “I’ve always felt it was my job to help reporters, not hide things. This is all built on relationships.”
The Mayor and the city’s relationship with social media is something that is rapidly changing, Hanna explained, stating “If there was a message that all of Appleton needed to hear, social media may very well be the best way to get that message across.”

As a result, the city has directed more resources to improving their social media, and has had to make difficult decisions about the viability of non-electronic means of communication with the community, such as a city guide.

Debate is a very important club and topic, but there are many more reasons to get involved beyond that. “I think that some people join clubs that they may not be passionate about, but debate is a very different and rewarding experience,” said Anant Kaushika, a member of the team. “It’s very intellectually stimulating, and really encourages you to think. Getting involved at school is important, and debate is a great way to do that.”