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Washington's U.S. Senate Candidates Meet for First Debate

AARP Washington is sponsoring the U.S. Senate candidates' debate this Sunday at Gonzaga University. (AARP Washington)
AARP Washington is sponsoring the U.S. Senate candidates' debate this Sunday at Gonzaga University. (AARP Washington)
October 13, 2016

SPOKANE, Wash. – It's debate season and this Sunday, the Washington State Debate Coalition hosts incumbent U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and her Republican Party rival, Chris Vance, at Gonzaga University.

Cathy MacCaul, advocacy director for AARP, which is lead sponsor for the debate, says both candidates need to make Social Security a priority in the Senate. She says it’s important to update Social Security, because 170 million Americans are paying into a program that may not yield as much for them in the future.

"Social Security is a promise that needs to be kept to generations who have paid into it, and they expect the benefits that they've earned to be there when they need it, but we need to keep that promise for future generations," she states.

The debate starts at 7 p.m. All tickets are reserved, but Washingtonians can find out how to watch online at

The Seattle City Club founded the Washington State Debate Coalition.

Of Washington's nearly 800,000 seniors, 92 percent receive Social Security benefits. MacCaul warns that future retirees stand to lose $10,000 a year if nothing is done to correct the impending Social Security shortfall, and she says it will take a bipartisan effort to do that.

"The fact is that Social Security is the safety net program for millions of Americans across this country,” she stresses. “And I think the political sides will have to come together, sit down at the table and really work out a solution. Our leaders – they have to act. Doing nothing is not an option."

The debate at Gonzaga is the second of four sponsored by AARP Washington this election season.

The gubernatorial candidates' second debate is Wednesday, and the Senate candidates will have another round on Oct. 23.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA