The Rapidian

Wealthy Theatre to host free simulcast of 2016 POTUS debate

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All are welcome to attend this unbiased and impartial presentation of the Presidential national debate at Wealthy Theatre.
Community Media Center's Wealthy Theatre is a welcoming, inclusive space

Community Media Center's Wealthy Theatre is a welcoming, inclusive space /Wealthy Theatre

Underwriting support from:

CMC to provide welcoming neutral space to watch debates between candidates for POTUS

Grand Rapids Community Media Center (CMC) will provide a non-partisan, neutral simulcast for all four of these televised national debates, free for the community at the following dates and times at Wealthy Theatre. 

Monday, September 26th, 9pm - Wege Auditorium

Tuesday, October 4th, 9pm - Koning Micro Cinema (VP debate)

Sunday, October 9th, 9pm - Wege Auditorium

Wednesday, October 19th, 9pm - Wege Auditorium

Peter C. Cook Leadership Academy 2016

Peter C. Cook Leadership Academy 2016 /Haustein Center

/Community Media Center's Wealthy Theatre

All are welcome to a simulcast presentation of the first 2016 Presidential national debates on Monday, September 26th at Wealthy Theatre. The debate between the two major party candidates is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Admission is free.

The simulcast will be shown on the big screen at the Peter Wege Auditorium at Grand Rapids Community Media Center’s Wealthy Theatre, located at 1130 Wealthy St. SE Grand Rapids, 49506. Capacity is 400 people. Accessible seating is available. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early in order to find a seat. Doors will open at 8 p.m. 

Free parking is available in Wealthy Theatre’s lighted parking area behind and adjacent to the building. Additional parking is available in the city lot behind 1110 Wealthy Street, accessible by Barth Street. The theatre is near bus stops #1906, 2336, 1911 and 2331. You may find info about how to Ride the Rapid to Wealthy Theatre here.

“This is one way for our community members to get more civically involved,” said CMC Executive Director Linda Gellasch. “As a free-speech organization, Community Media Center encourages everyone to exercise our first amendment rights to free speech and peaceable assembly. Wealthy Theatre is known as an inclusive gathering place where all are welcome and everyone’s right  to their own opinion is fully recognized."

The theatre has a history of providing a safe and welcoming place to all. Past events have included a live presentation of debates between all Grand Rapids Mayoral candidates in August 2015. They also simulcasted the major party candidate debates in 2008 and 2012 for Presidential and Vice Presidential campaigns.  

This event is made possible by sponsors Hauenstein Center at GVSU, World Affairs Council West Michigan Chapter and Goodrich Quality Theaters.

“The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan immediately signed on to be a sponsor for these Presidential debates,”  Dixie Anderson, Executive Director said. “We’re honored to support the Community Media Center in providing a forum for everybody in the community to “attend” these debates.  One of the most important duties an American citizen has is to vote.  And one of our most important responsibilities as citizens is to make certain our votes are educated votes.  The Presidential Debates are a way to accomplish this.”

Attendees will be able to  sign up for a free membership  in the World Affairs Council at their table in the theatre lobby during this event.

“Now that the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump has tightened, the fall debates could make all the difference for one of the candidates,” said Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at GVSU. “Both remain unpopular with likely voters. American citizens have come to expect of their candidates not only a wealth of policy knowledge, but also the poise and savvy needed for appealing to voters directly, in real time. Televised presidential debates put candidates to the test in both of these key areas.”

Whitney added historical perspective. “Exactly fifty-six years ago this evening, Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon participated in the first televised presidential debate. Historians today consider the broadcast a decisive factor behind Kennedy’s defeat of Nixon that November. Radio listeners thought that Nixon had outperformed Kennedy, but television viewers came to a different conclusion. Kennedy’s congenial appearance contrasted starkly with Nixon’s five o’clock shadow and conspicuous sweating, both visible because of his refusal to wear makeup as he stood underneath the bright, warm lights of a CBS broadcast studio in Chicago. Suspecting that his poor performance had cost him the election of 1960, Nixon refused to participate in televised debates in 1968 and 1972. Former Georgia governor Jimmy Carter and President Gerald Ford held a series of debates for television in 1976, and since then, televised presidential debates have become an institution in American politics.”



Hauenstein Center at GVSU

Inspired by Ralph Hauenstein’s life of leadership and service, the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies is dedicated to raising a community of ethical, effective leaders for the twenty-first century.

World Affairs Council

The World Affairs Council serves to educate people of Western Michigan on matters of foreign policy and international interest. We aim to help business leaders and their employees and the people in our community gain a better understanding of world cultures, commerce and foreign policy through our resources and programs.

Goodrich Quality Theaters

Starting in 1930 with a single screen in downtown Grand Rapids, MI, Goodrich Quality Theaters has innovated, changed and grown with the industry to include 30 theaters with 273 screens in cities throughout Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. They are committed to state of the art cinematic surroundings, breathtaking presentation and friendly customer service.

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