June 23, 2010 14:55 Age: 4 yrs

IN BRIEF: First-Year Student Experiences Politics Firsthand at Debate

Attorney General Thurbert Baker 79L holds up a piece of paper as he answers a question during the Democratic gubernatorial debate at Emory Law. Marc Gross 12L (first table, second from left) serves on the panel posing questions to the four candidates, which also included former Secretary of State David Poythress 62OX 64C 67L (fourth candidate from left.)

“I’ve been behind the scenes at various events as comptroller at the Clinton Foundation, but I have never been the one sitting on the stage asking the questions,” says Marc Gross 12L, who represented Emory Law at the spring Democratic gubernatorial debate at the law school.

Gross was part of a three-person panel that included Tom Baxter, editor of the Southern Political Report, and Robin McDonald, reporter for the Fulton County Daily Report. Despite his inexperience, Gross says fellow panelists treated him as a peer.

“They were clearly the pros, having done this before,” Gross says. “They gave me pointers on how to make my questions more concise, which helped me feel less intimidated and more at ease.”

The April 1 debate, sponsored by the Emory Law Democrats, featured four of the five Democratic candidates: Attorney General Thurbert Baker 79L, Georgia House Minority Leader Dubose Porter, Ray City Mayor Carl Camon and former Secretary of State David Poythress 62OX 64C 67L.

“I got questions from students,” Gross says. “Sometimes the questions were very pointed and specific so I had to research the topics to be able to manipulate or ask a follow-up question if another panelist asked a similar question. I wanted to be sure student concerns were addressed.”

Gross appreciated how the candidates integrated their Atlanta accomplishments with the broader picture of what they planned for Georgia.

“My questions were Atlanta specific because that is the Emory Law student experience,” he says. “You want a candidate who is able to think about how what affects Atlanta will affect the state as a whole.

“My goal is to one day run for office. I believe a law background will serve as a great foundation for politics,” Gross says. “You learn how to think and approach problems and issues in a way that will be effective when serving as an advocate for the people.

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