March 16th 2016
[ Applause ]
Welcome back. I’m Rachel Yevin, reporter for the New United and the moderator of tonight’s Jalan Electoral Debate. All three senatorial candidates are vying for the vacancy created in Elysium following the retirement of Atsuki Evan, a Centralist who has been a Senator for over six decades.
Before the break, we promised Mr. Marigold a quick rebuttal to the question about the UEE’s war strategy. Mr. Marigold?
Sakae Marigold ( T ): We can all agree that protecting our Empire is of the utmost importance, but last week the Senate voted to eliminate social programs to do it. These programs included Equivalency-aid, poverty outreach, public housing assistance and much more. The loss of these programs will potentially affect millions. If this Empire is truly dedicated to defeating the Vanduul, then we must find a way to finance the war without disproportionately affecting those in the greatest need of government help, like Jalan’s many Tevarin.
Let’s go back to Mr. Kossi. As both a decorated Navy veteran and a Tevarin, how would you have voted on the UEE’s latest wartime spending bill?
Suj Kossi ( U ): Well Rachel, first, I believe we can properly protect this Empire and service the needs of the Tevarin people simultaneously. That said, we can do a better job on both issues, and I would dedicate myself to making improvements on both fronts.
Throughout my tours of service, I have proven my dedication to the safety and security of this great Empire, and am a firm supporter of Admiral Bishop’s war strategy. When elected Senator, I will vote in favor of policies that keep us on the offensive. I know firsthand that you can’t sit back and let the ’duul dictate the tempo of the battlefield. It is only through aggressive action that we will eradicate the Vanduul threat from this Empire.
[ Loud Applause ]
To your second point, one of my goals as Senator is to bring more Tevarin into UEE institutions. For far too long, my people have lived as outsiders afraid to engage with the UEE in any meaningful way. Well, I’m here to show the Empire that it doesn’t matter if you’re a Tevarin from the hills of Gemma or a Human toiling away on a Nedila water-farm, as long as you are willing to work for the UEE, then the UEE will work for you.
Now, many of the social programs that were defunded were ineffectual and expensive. Those credits are better spent protecting this Empire and increasing military recruitment in Jalan. Military service is a more reliable avenue to citizenship than any other UEE program, and citizenship makes for a more active and engaged populous.
Increasing Jalan’s total number of Tevarin citizens is a goal of mine and I hope to double the current rate during my first term alone. I believe that it can best be done by encouraging fellow Tevarin to join the military, to run for public office, to be an active part of their community — instead of merely being a recipient of the UEE’s generosity.
That’s exactly what the latest military spending initiative did and was one of the many reasons why I supported it. It cut frivolous and unproductive programs in favor of safety, security and the best social mobility initiative in the UEE — military recruitment.
[ Applause ]
Mr. Marigold, any last thoughts on the subject?
Sakae Marigold ( T ): Let me say something … Mr. Kossi’s personal story is inspiring; no doubt about it. But the fact that he is the first and only Senate candidate from a race that has been assimilated into this Empire for centuries should be an indictment of the UEE’s policies, not a celebration of them.
Make no mistake, Mr. Kossi advocated for a plan that only exacerbated the problem. A policy that shipped credits out of Elysium at the expense of future generations of Tevarin and Humans who desperately need help navigating this byzantine system.
How does Mr. Kossi expect the disenfranchised of any race to help the UEE if there are no programs in place to help them outside of the military? Civilians can only become Citizens through outreach and education. The exact programs Mr. Kossi supported cutting in favor of military spending; most of which, I might add, will not go to recruitment.
Now, Mr. Kossi says these programs deserved to be cut because they performed poorly. Well, I say they performed poorly because they were underfunded. If we really want to accomplish what Mr. Kossi is suggesting, then we need more credits going to these programs. Not less.
Gabrielle Gracián ( C ): If I ma—
In a moment. Mr. Kossi, would you care to respond to Mr. Marigold?
Suj Kossi ( U ): Let me make this as clear as possible: the UEE has not failed the Tevarin. There is merely a gap between the sides that I want to close. From my experience, Tevarin and UEE ideals are one and the same; we both value honor, obedience, duty and self-sacrifice. The Tevarin people are truly the UEE’s most valuable untapped resource, and now is the time for us to demonstrate how useful we can be to this Empire.
[ Scattered Applause ]
Ms. Gracián, back to you. Anything you’d like to add?
Gabrielle Gracián ( C ): Look, the political reality is that funding has already being diverted away from these programs after the Senate overwhelmingly approved the latest military spending measure. Many of these programs won’t survive unless the private sector steps in to help. So let’s stop the political posturing on what we would’ve done. Instead, let’s focus on the specifics of what we would do to better integrate Jalan’s underprivileged into the Empire.
See, political belief is one thing; political action is another. Mr. Kossi and Mr. Marigold can talk our ears off about what they want to do, but what we should really ask them is how they plan to do it. Because that’s the answer that will determine the success of Jalan’s next Senator.
After a decade on Jalan’s Governor’s council, I know the issues affecting this planet more intimately than any other candidate. I know the power brokers both here and in the halls of the Senate. I have a proven track record as someone who can build consensus around an idea, and more importantly, turn that idea into actual legislation.
Atsuki Evan was a successful Senator because he understood political realities. He saw the big picture, but focused his political might on areas he could affect. That’s how he consistently brought jobs and government-funded projects back home.
It’s also why Atsuki has endorsed me. He’s confident I can continue to do the real work needed to benefit Elysium. As I’ve previously shown, I’m the only candidate who can give in-depth answers to how I would deal with Jalan’s political realities. Jalan doesn’t need a daydreamer, right now, it needs a doer.
[ Applause ]
Sakae Marigold ( T ): I have to respond to that —
Go ahead, Mr. Marigold.
Sakae Marigold ( T ): For someone who wants to talk about issues in-depth, Ms. Gracián just did very little of it. Instead, she once again highlighted her endorsement from a Senator that the Terra Gazette called “ineffectual and out-of-step” ten years ago. So if you’re content with Jalan’s political reality being a chronically high unemployment rate, crumbling infrastructure, and shrinking social services, then Ms. Gracián is proudly carrying that torch for you.
I’m here for those who expect more from their government. For those who are sick and tired of entrenched interests holding back real change. For those firmly focused on the UEE’s future, not its past.
Ms. Gracián can scold me all she wants for daring to dream that Jalan could be a better place, but just because she lacks the political imagination necessary to accomplish bigger and better things for this planet doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
Ok, we’re running out of time, but I want to give Mr. Kossi one more chance to respond.
Suj Kossi ( U ): Thanks, Rachel. If Ms. Gracián wants to talk about details, let’s talk about details. Over the last decade, Ms. Gracián has voted twenty-four times to defund some of Jalan’s most important environmental regulatory agencies, like the Air and Atmospheric Quality Board.
If asked, I’m sure she’ll overwhelm you with details about how burdensome regulation has been driving away business. Then, amidst all the specifics, fail to mention that rampant deregulation has caused Jalan to drop significantly on the UEE’s annual list of environmentally safe and sound planets. Or how there’s an alarmingly high percentage of pollutants in our atmosphere and water supply.
Those details may not matter to her, but they definitely matter to me. Since it is the Tevarin homeworld, I am dedicated to improving Jalan for its current residents, Human and Tevarin, and preserving it for posterity. Never forget that one of the things that makes Jalan so special is its rich and unique cultural history. As Jalan’s Senator, I will make it my mission to remind the Empire of that fact.
[ Applause ]
Thank you, Mr. Kossi. Time again for another quick break. When we return, the candidates will discuss how foreign trade will affect Jalan’s economic future.
That and more when Jalan’s Senatorial debate continues.