WEB POSTING from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Richard Stockton College Bids for Presidential, Vice Presidential Debate

Candidates Could Square Off at College in Atlantic County

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Contact:    Tim Kelly
                  Office of Public Relations
                  Galloway Township, NJ 08240

Galloway Township, NJ- The next presidential election may still be 20 months away, but The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey has already tossed its hat in the ring.

The College, home of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy – which commissions political and public opinion polls, conducts political research and presents political lectures and forums – formally bid to host one of the 2012 presidential or vice presidential debates.

“I can think of no more fitting place for a presidential or vice presidential debate than right here at Stockton,” said President Herman J. Saatkamp, Jr. “Civic engagement and community partnerships are a key element in our educational mission. Debates are a time-honored practice to assist the electorate in making informed choices. As home to the Hughes Center and previous host of many high profile events, it makes sense for Stockton to be seriously considered.”

Dr. Saatkamp said Stockton’s infrastructure, location central to the nation’s first and fourth largest media markets, and event-hosting experience bolster Stockton’s qualifications as a debate site.

The president said Stockton’s close proximity to Atlantic City International Airport and the secure federal facility, The William J. Hughes Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Technical Center (less than five miles away in Egg Harbor Twp.), as well as Stockton’s recent purchase of the historic Seaview Resort (also five miles away in Galloway Twp.) would facilitate presidential and candidate travel and accommodations. The Airport/Tech Center complex is also home to the Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing and the NextGen Aviation Research and Technology Park.

Stockton formally submitted its application to Janet Brown, executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates. The College received letters of support of the bid from Governor Chris Christie, Ambassador William J. Hughes, a former longtime area congressman and ambassador to Panama, U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, State Sen. James Whelan, Assemblymen John Amodeo and Vince Polistina, Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson, Galloway Mayor Keith Hartman, Casino Reinvestment Development Authority Chairman James Kehoe, South Jersey Transportation Authority Executive Director Bart Mueller, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey Debra Di Lorenzo, Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce President Joseph Kelly and the President of the Constitutional Officers Association of New Jersey Rita Marie Fulginiti.

Stockton’s application is further supported by its location. The scenic 2,000-acre main campus is set in the Pinelands National Reserve, in the heart of the northeast and within easy driving distance of a third of the population of the United States. Stockton is 60 miles from Philadelphia, 125 miles from New York, 175 miles from Washington, D.C., and is serviced not only by Atlantic City’s own international airport and train station, but by the major transportation centers for all these areas.

Additionally, the recent acquisition and renovation of the Seaview Resort enables Stockton to provide hotel rooms, meeting space and other amenities at a four-star resort less than 15 minutes from the campus. Seaview is a learning laboratory for Stockton’s Hospitality and Tourism Management Studies program and an appropriate site for candidate debate preparation and the Commission on Presidential Debates. In addition, Dr. Saatkamp said several Atlantic City hotel properties have made commitments to provide the 3,000 rooms required for guests at the debate and for media from around the world.

He said the debates would stimulate the local and regional economies through the purchase of these hotel rooms and visitor spending associated with the debate, and through the resulting international media attention.

“It is clear Stockton has the physical and human resources, the ability, experience and desire to make a debate happen here,” Dr. Saatkamp said. “What a remarkable message this would be to send to our students, faculty and community: that we are engaged at the highest levels and poised to display our abilities on the national stage.”

“Logistically, geographically and aesthetically, Stockton would be an appropriate setting for a political event of this magnitude,” Dr. Saatkamp concluded.