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HomeCampus LifeBelmont to Host First Televised Statewide Gubernatorial Forum Jan. 23

Belmont to Host First Televised Statewide Gubernatorial Forum Jan. 23

Forum to focus on education and air on NewsChannel5

Belmont University, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), the USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee and NewsChannel 5 are partnering to host the first televised, statewide gubernatorial forum of the 2018 election. The forum will be held on Belmont’s campus in the Curb Event Center on Jan. 23.

The forum will focus exclusively on education and be broadcast live on NewsChannel 5 and across all six of the USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee’s websites and mobile apps, including The forum will air from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. CT. All seven top-tier Republican and Democratic candidates are expected to attend.

Belmont President Robert C. Fisher said the university is kicking off a year-long commitment to hosting events related to the 2018 governor’s race, and it’s appropriate the first forum is on education.

“We are eager to support efforts like this one that complement our mission to empower students to engage and transform the world,” Fisher said. “We are honored to be partnering with SCORE on events across our state to engage Tennessee’s gubernatorial candidates in this discussion that is vital to Tennessee’s future.”

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, the founder and chairman of SCORE, noted, “As Tennesseans, we should be proud that our students and teachers have made our state the fastest improving in K-12 education, and that our state leaders have made Tennessee a national model in improving access to postsecondary opportunities.”

“Nothing could be more important than continuing this success by highlighting education as a top priority for our next governor,” Frist said. “We look forward to hosting a conversation with the candidates to hear how Tennessee’s next governor will help our students become best in the nation.”


Tennessee has made tremendous progress in recent decades but still has challenges ahead, particularly as it works to boost its English and reading proficiency, improve training and support for principals and continues to find a pathway to success for high school graduates.

“Education is one of the critical issues facing our state, and Tennessee’s next governor will play a crucial role in helping chart the future for our students,” said Michael A. Anastasi, vice president of news and editor of the USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee. “From how the candidates hope to boost literacy rates and student achievement to maintaining Tennessee’s higher education successes, students and their families must understand where our next governor stands.”

“We are pleased to partner with SCORE, Belmont and NewsChannel 5 in bringing this important event to the public,” Anastasi said.

Lyn Plantinga, NewsChannel 5’s vice president and general manager, agreed.

“One of the most important things people expect from NewsChannel 5 is information that will help them make smart decisions,” Plantinga said. “We are excited to be a part of this important forum, and hope it will help our community be more informed, both as citizens and as voters.”

SCORE is an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan advocacy and research institution. In addition to SCORE, Belmont, the USA TODAY NETWORK and NewsChannel 5, more than two dozen other organizations are partnering on the forum.

The organizations include public education foundations and chambers of commerce from across the Tennessee, along with groups representing teachers, parents, superintendents, school boards and charter schools.


2018 Gubernatorial Forum on Education


State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE)


NewsChannel5 – WTVF

Belmont University


Partners to date
Chattanooga 2.0
Chattanooga Public Education Foundation
Complete Tennessee
Communities In Schools (CIS)
Jackson Chamber of Commerce
Johnson City/Jonesborough/Washington County Chamber of Commerce
Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce
Great Schools Partnership
Kingsport Chamber of Commerce
Knoxville Chamber of Commerce
Memphis Education Fund
Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC)
Nashville Chamber of Commerce
Nashville Public Education Foundation
Professional Educators of Tennessee (PET)
STEM Innovation Network
Tennessee Business Roundtable (TBR)
Tennessee CAN (TennCAN)
Tennessee Chamber of Commerce
Tennessee Charter School Center
Tennessee County Mayors Association
Tennessee Education Association (TEA)
Tennessee Educational Equity Coalition
Tennessee Federation for Children (TFC)
Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA)
Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS)
Tennessee Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
Tennesseans for Quality Early Education (TQEE)
Tennesseans for Student Success (TSS)
Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA)
United Ways of Tennessee

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