Debate Tournament Committee

High School Debate Tournament Committee


 Matthew A. Eldridge is the Captain of this Committee; he can be reached by email at

 Matthew’s Committee consists of Cheri Adkins, Shane Simon, Archie Lidey, Bill Ertel, Amber Garza, and many SOS support team members!

History of this Tournament:

Matthew is a former high school debater, college debater, and debate coach; realized that some of the smartest people in the state and County who have not been asked their opinions on debating and solving our fiscal crisis are our high school debaters and their coaches. Securing Our Safety has argued that any idea that could help should be sought—Matthew believed it was a radical idea but if debate coaches could come on board, it would be worth trying to host a modified Debate Tournament and have the topics be directly related to finding a permanent solution to our funding crisis.

Although Oregon has many qualified high school debate teams, it was decided to limit invitations to four teams. Additionally, if you include the summer break, there was only three months to plan this. If you take that out, as most students are aware of this debate have not been able to work on it over the summer, it only leaves three weeks at best to prepare in addition to preparing for their other tournaments.

Securing Our Safety understood, this forum is a chance to unite the Community around a voice we all should be united—the next generation of voters and policy makers. The goal is to provide our elected officials another perspective on the fiscal crisis. SOS comprehends our high school students may not solve the crisis, nor is that the goal, rather, the goal is to provide our elected officials enough well developed arguments based on reasonable arguments based on reason and supported with evidence so acceptance or rejection of these arguments will result in accountability.

This kind of Debate Tournament does not exist, there is not a format to follow, instead, a little of every style of academic debate has been borrowed and through that process, we have a “new” style of debate. Students have been asked to bring some of the elements of Policy Debate into the process, assess the Values associated with their propositions (Lincoln-Douglas Debate), and will also use some of the formats associated with Public/Parli Debate. In addition, there will be a Student Congress round. The National Forensics League wants to follow-up on this Tournament and share with other coaches so they can also have their teams contribute to the publics’ good.

The University of Oregon’s Program Director, a former Ashland High School debater will attend and present an amazing scholarship to each of the four teams. To ask our students to contribute with little notice and take on such a huge responsibility must also be willing to provide incentives: SOS wants to extend a huge appreciation to the University of Oregon for their scholarship and coming to this event.

After four formal debate rounds and a Student Congress round, the students will have showed their skills and abilities and will have contributed to the long-term success of our Counties’ fiscal health.

This Tournament and Committee will dissolve, however, the goal is have set a standard how to do this and anyone who wants to use this model is welcome to it upon request. Some of the details will remain the intellectual property of SOS but the framework is important and if requested will be granted.

Topics/Resolutions Being Debated:

I can humbly and honestly say, this is the hardest part of the Tournament. It is one thing to know of a topic, it is another, to write it in such a way that does not make it one sided. The Topics/Resolutions were limited to four and the Tournament to four rounds so SOS could have a solid debate while not exhausting our students and community members. The students, SOS, political leaders, and community all are volunteering to show and it was important to respect the spirit of volunteerism.

Topic 1)

Oregon National Guard Used to provide law enforcement and protection:

Law Enforcement in a democratic society should always be valued and available; therefore, this House must under the Status-Quo declare an emergency and dispatch the Oregon National Guard for equal and peaceful protection of all.

Definition of House: Josephine County Board of Commissioners

On the National Guard topic: Grants Pass Proposition and North Valley Opposition

Topic 2)

Suing the Federal Government & Partnering with Public Interest Lawyers to Reduce the Cost:

As an O&C County, which Federal Government Agency should this House sue and who/what should be sought out to help sue thereby, reducing the County’s cost for suing the Federal Government: Is this proposition even Constitutionally allowable?

Definition of House: Josephine County/Any O&C Board of Commissioners but specifically Josephine County, please for the purpose of concise debate

On the sue government topic: North Valley Proposition and Coquille Opposition

Topic 3)

Multi-Tier Law Enforcement Tax District for Services:

Like Washington and Deschutes Oregon Counties have, this House should support SOS’ citizen based initiative to establish a multi-tier law enforcement tax district (not including the City as a district) where County residents’ pay for services they desire, allowing other citizens to pay more for desired services; all County/State law enforcements should have equal need/use of the jail/juvenile detentions and District Attorney’s Office.

Definition of House: Josephine County Sheriff’s Office, Municipal Police, & Board of Commissioners

On the Multi-Tier Tax District topic: Coquille Prop and Butte Falls Opposition

Topic 4)

Responsible and Sustainable Logging and Mineral Mining and Resource Management:

Unlike the Biscuit Fire, where trees/resources were allowed to rot instead of generating revenue, this House must lobby for logging the O&C burnt lands of 2013 and promote responsible and sustainable mineral/metals mining practices; our Natural Resources should help pay for our citizens’ vital County Services.

On the Natural Resources topic: Butte Falls in Prop and Grants Pass Opposition

It is requested that Tournament Hosts NOT use these topics and/or Resolutions since they will have already been debated. A public record of this Tournament should be available shortly after and will update where to find it once that has been done.

Special Thanks:

I want to take time to Thank SOS for allowing our students to contribute to the discussion and a special thanks to Pat Fahey for helping ensure our students were fed for this Tournament. There are so many support staff to thank—please know this—without support staff, this Tournament Committee would only be that and not an event!


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