The Commission on Presidential Debates announced today that the University of Utah has been selected to host the vice presidential debate, at Kingsbury Hall in the Nancy Peery Marriott Auditorium. This is the first time a national debate will be hosted in Utah.

The Commission on Presidential Debates in a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization and has sponsored all general election presidential and vice presidential debates since 1988.

“It is a tremendous honor to host a vice presidential debate and we are delighted to have this opportunity to showcase our university and our state,” said Ruth Watkins, president of the University of Utah. “I am excited for our students to be able to participate in this important component of the political process. It will be an incredible educational experience for them. Civic engagement is a core value of our democracy and students will be able to see firsthand how being involved in the political process matters.”

Utah is the only western state selected for one of three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate.

“Utah has a proven record of successfully hosting events on a large scale,” said Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. “The 2002 Winter Olympics are widely considered to be the most economically successful in Olympic history. Our citizens have an excellent reputation for hospitality and Salt Lake City has a strong infrastructure for travel and tourism. We look forward to welcoming the 2020 candidates and media from across the world.”

“Utah has the opportunity to once again stand on the world stage to showcase our citizens, our values and our tremendous Utah lifestyle,” said Thomas Wright, co-chair of the Utah Debate Commission. “On behalf of the Utah Debate Commission and our University of Utah partners, I want to thank our state leaders for their vision, perseverance and hard work as well as all those who have supported the effort to host a debate in Utah.”

Additional details about the debates, including format and moderators, will be announced in 2020 by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

“It has always been the mission of the Hinckley Institute and the University of Utah to provide our students with unparalleled and transformative opportunities to learn about politics and become civically engaged,” said Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics and vice president for Government Relations. “Hosting a 2020 vice presidential debate will allow us to accomplish both of these goals on a world stage.”

“The selection of Salt Lake City as a venue for a vice presidential debate offers residents throughout the state an especially unique opportunity for civic engagement,” said Karen Hale, co-chair of the Utah Debate Commission. “The national—and international—focus on a vice presidential debate here in Utah has the capacity to elevate residents’ curiosity and awareness about the issues and the candidates.”

Media Contacts

Shawn WoodCommunications Specialist, University Marketing & Communications
Office: 801-585-9244

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