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Two debates to kick-off debate season on Pioneer PBS Sept. 17
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Candidates from House District 12A and 12B to appear live

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GRANITE FALLS, Minn. — Pioneer PBS will be airing two back-to-back debates on Thursday, September 17 starting at 7 p.m. The first debate will be between Minnesota House District 12B Representative Paul Anderson (R) of Starbuck and challenger Ben Schirmers (DFL) of Sauk Centre. Immediately following at 8 p.m., Minnesota House District 12A Representative Jeff Backer (R) of Browns Valley and challenger Murray Smart (DFL) of Beardsley will respond to viewer’s questions. These debates will be broadcast live from Pioneer PBS’s studio in Granite Falls and will be moderated by Jim Thoreen.

Viewers are encouraged to call (1-800-726-3178), tweet (@PioneerPBS) or email ( questions to the candidates during the debates. The debates will beavailable for online viewing on Friday, September 18 by noon on For more information, contact Patrick Moore, communications director at 320-841-1487 or email

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Established in 1966, Pioneer PBS is an award-winning, viewer-supported television station dedicated to cultivating and building citizenship in the small towns and farming communities of the Upper Midwest. For more information visit: