First student debate provides silver-lining for students

Dylan Hall

Jacob Simpson, education sophomore andTexas Powers, computer science sophomore watch the student debate on Nov 2. Photo by Izziel Latour

election-2016It wasn’t CNN’s fourth presidential nominee epic showdown between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, nor did it garner more than 500 students on campus to watch in awe . It didn’t even fill the compact Dillard 101 classroom to capacity. However, Wednesday’s student debate between Democratic representative Marco Torres and Republican representative Manny Hoffmann was a special occurrence as it was the only student political debate held on campus this year. 

“I saw this as a great opportunity for me to elaborate on and clarify the Republican’s party platform’s stance against issues rather than engage in a debate about the current presidential nominees,” Republican representative Hoffmann said.

Hoffmann, a political science junior, was tightly challenged by his counterpart and friend to the left of his podium, the soft-spoken, yet excited Democratic representative Torres.

“I’m excited to take part in tonight’s debate. I wanted to do it to extend my views on the issues we are facing in today’s society to fellow college students and express the important positions the democratic party truly holds,” Torres, history senior, said.

Despite the debate lasting over one hour, right in the middle of the final game of baseball’s World Series Game 7, the two debaters expressed they both devoted little time toward preparation.

“It hasn’t been too stressful or time-consuming at all. I just wanted to clarify that the Republican party’s platform is not necessarily Trump’s platform and that its ideals are still relevant and the best path for this country to take,” Hoffmann said. 

Torres also expressed a similar position on the matter, but couldn’t help but to elaborate more on the lack of grace reflected in his casual attire.

“I didn’t spend much time preparing, I always had a firm idea of what I wanted to relay, I wish they didn’t give us the questions before-hand and I just hate dressing up. I kept telling myself, no, I can’t put on a suit and do this, it makes me uncomfortable,” Torres said, laughing.

Charles Kabangu, nursing senior, watches the student debate on Nov 2. Photo by Izziel Latour
Charles Kabangu, nursing senior, watches the student debate on Nov 2. Photo by Izziel Latour


Moderated by KDFX morning news anchor Deron Molen, the debaters provided insight on numerous topics scarcely given to college students.

Job creation

One topic which seemed to consistently standout from the rest was the idea of more effective job creation.

Hoffmann, an Abilene native, directly expressed the Republican party’s stance on taxation and said he believes the key to more effective job creation is reducing taxation as well as creating more big businesses from which small business can develop from

In contrast, Torres attempted to appeal more directly to the students in attendance and the battle they face after graduating. 

Marco Torres  

  • “We have to be innovative. We have to be willing to work with the companies that left America to help us grow again. Personally I would like to tax the hell out of them but that is not the way forward.”
  • “A lot of students choose the wrong major and shut themselves off from other opportunities. Get involved, pave your own path and discover your passion. I used to want to be a nurse and now I want to work with students affairs and University administrators.”

Manny Hoffmann

  • “Private investment is an enormous factor in job creation. The big companies that have been giving jobs to people in other countries are going to have to start giving jobs to Americans. That’s the most important thing.”
  • “My mom is a personal trainer and my dad is a regional manager but I want to be a lawyer and although jobs are lacking, if you set a goal and work towards it you will eventually achieve it. You have to protect your dream.”


Immigration is a hot topic in Texas and Torres expressed his close relation with the issue — being children of immigrants themselves.

Marco Torres 

  • “Being a child of immigrants myself, deporting 11 million immigrants is not going to happen. I do believe we have a responsibility to help others since we are the greatest country on earth. I do think that immigration reform needs to happen — do we need to build a wall? No, It’s not fiscally responsible. And in case you haven’t noticed, we built tunnels underground, so it’s not going to stop us anyway.”

Hoffmann on the other hand, expressed less sympathy for those entering the country and sees them as a potential threat.

Manny Hoffmann

  • “There is a legal path to citizenship in this country. There should not be an issue in protecting our citizens. I understand, and Republicans understand, that it is our duty to protect the weak, but our foremost duty is to protect our citizens. If they cannot be properly vetted, then they have no place to come into our country.”

 The American Dream

The American Dream is a prominent yet recently fading reality for most Americans today and both debaters expressed impactful views regarding what they believe the American dream represents.

Manny Hoffmann

  • “The American dream represents a place of freedom and worship. Our country is unique in the sense that you can decide whoever you want to be when you grow up.”
  • We have been plagued by mediocrity and the battle with minimum wage. It should absolutely not be a living wage, and it should be raised. Also, our country needs to realize that we are still a world superpower and its citizenry need to act accordingly, otherwise nothing else will hurt us more as a society.”

Torres agreed in part with Hoffmann and stressed part of the problem is not an outlook plagued by mediocrity, but more so a lack of equal privileges and also labeled American society today as lazy.

Marco Torres

  • “The American Dream is real. It’s alive, but you have to work for it. Nothing is going to be handed to you for free. My goal is to achieve my master’s in student development to help minorities and show them the American Dream is real.”
  • It’s kind of like some early morning classes. It’s boring, but you have to go through it to get what you want.” 

Why vote for your party?

Marco Torres ( Democratic Party)

  • “Vote for the democratic party because we want to help you. Some of us are more privileged than others. We want to help those who are less privileged.”
  • “Socially my party is the best, we believe in supporting basic civil rights.” 

Manny Hoffmann ( Republican Party)

  • “It’s not fair to start everyone out equally. The Democratic party wants to put everyone in a one size fits all model for success, and that’s not acceptable.”
  • “The Republic party is one where you determine your level of success or failure through.” 

Words of wisdom for students

Marco Torres

  • “Find something you’re good at, market it and make money off it.”

Manny Hoffmann

  • “It’s better to make small change than no change at all.”