Chamber Blog

UMW to Host Two Delegate Debates

September 6, 2017

The University of Mary Washington will host an 88th District Debate on Wednesday, Sept. 13, and a 28th District Debate on Thursday, Sept. 21. Both debates will take place at 7 p.m. in Lee Hall, Room 411. They are open to the public.
On Sept. 13, incumbent Del. Mark Cole, a Republican, will debate Democrat Steve Aycock, Independent Amanda Blalock and Green Party candidate Gerald Anderson.
Cole has served as a delegate since 2002. He is a member of the House committees on Finance and Education, Small Business Commission, Rappahannock River Basin Commission and is chairman of the Privileges and Elections Committee.
Democratic challenger Steve Aycock is associate pastor for missions at the Real Life Community Church in Stafford County. Independent candidate Amanda Blalock served on the Spotsylvania County School Board for 10 years, including one year as chairman and four years as vice chairman. Green Party candidate Gerald Anderson is a member of the adjunct faculty at Germanna Community College.
The 88th District includes parts of Spotsylvania, Stafford and Fauquier counties and the city of Fredericksburg.
On Sept. 21, Joshua Cole, a Democrat, will debate Republican Bob Thomas. Cole began his political career in 2005, when House Speaker Bill Howell appointed him as a page for the House. He is an assistant pastor at the Union Bell Baptist Church in Stafford County.
Retired Marine Bob Thomas, the Republican candidate, is president and CEO of Capriccio Software in Stafford County. He has served on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors and was chairman in 2016.
The 28th District includes parts of the city of Fredericksburg and Stafford County.
Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies, will moderate the program and serve as a panelist. The other panelists will be Ted Schubel, news director of News Talk 1230/WFVA and WBQB radio, and a representative from The Free Lance-Star. Written questions from the audience can be submitted in person shortly before the start of each debate.
The debates are sponsored by UMW’s College Republicans, Young Democrats and the Legislative Action Committee of the Student Government Association, in conjunction with the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce and The Free Lance–Star.
For more information about the debates, contact Stephen Farnsworth at
Additional information on each candidate can be found on their websites:,,,, and