PLU to host debate on Tacoma’s potential minimum wage increase

Pacific Lutheran University will host a debate next month on one of the biggest issues facing Tacoma voters in years: Whether to raise the minimum wage in the city to $15 an hour.

Members of the university’s debate team will work with local policy experts to debate the issue Oct. 8, according to a news release Thursday.

The sides will be represented by one expert and one student. Speaking in favor of raising the wage, also known as Initiative 1, will be Vince Keuter of SEIU 1199 NW and Angie Tinker, a senior double major in history and Chinese studies. Speaking against will be Tom Pierson of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber and Matt Aust, a junior communications major.

If Tacoma voters haven’t decided how they’ll vote, the debate will be a chance to hear informed arguments on both sides, PLU director of forensics Justin Eckstein said in the release.

“The advocating and doubting of standpoints, publicly, offers a mechanism for a community to determine the best course of action,” Eckstein said. “Tacoma citizens are invited to come hear the best reasons for and against an issue that we’ll be voting on a few weeks later.”

The event is the 2015 installment of PLU’s annual Ruth Anderson Public Debate. The debate will have three rounds. According to the release:

In the first round, each debater will give a seven-minute speech. The second round will be a 20-minute question-and-answer session. In the third round, each speaker will deliver a three-minute closing speech.

The audience will vote at the beginning and the end of the program. Whichever side persuades the most people wins the debate.


When: Thursday, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m.

Where: Pacific Lutheran University, Room 201 in Xavier Hall

Cost: Admission is free, and the program also will be streamed live at