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Gov. Kate Brown, Republican Knute Buehler and Independent Patrick Starnes will face off on Oct. 2.

TRIBUNE PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - Youth participants in the Debate for Oregon's Future brainstorm ideas inside the KOIN Center tower on Saturday, Sept. 22 in Portland. The politicians vying for your vote are about to tackle their toughest audience yet: Oregon's kids.

More than a dozen young people, aged 12 to 19, will ask their own questions to three candidates for governor during the Debate for Oregon's Future — sponsored by the Pamplin Media Group, Children First for Oregon and KOIN 6 News.

The first gubernatorial debate of the year will feature Democratic incumbent Gov. Kate Brown, Republican challenger Knute Buehler and Independent Party candidate Patrick Starnes in a historic showdown to be broadcast live from Roosevelt High School in Portland.

"The candidates should brace themselves," says Pamplin Media Group Executive Editor John Schrag. "Their young constituents will not be pulling any punches."

The event will be televised locally on KOIN TV on channel 6 from 7 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 2, and will also be available for online streaming at KOIN.com. Those wishing to attend in person should request a free ticket here.

Many of the children — who hail from Portland, Pendleton, Prineville, Medford, John Day and Tigard — attended a brainstorming session at the KOIN Center tower on Saturday, Sept. 22. The candidates won't know any of the kids' questions until they hear them on stage, but it's clear that these junior citizens are ready to have their say.

Roosevelt senior Tosha Kitungano, 17, says teenagers like her can be quite engaged with politics, even if they're too young to vote.

"For me, I feel like we're very powerful," she noted. "We get people's attention."

Rose Lawrence, a sophomore at the School of Science and Technology in Beaverton, believes too many candidates have become "very corporate," especially in the recent national elections.

"A lot of people think it was a choice between the lesser of two evils," the 15-year-old said.

KOIN anchor Jeff Gianola and Portland Tribune reporter Shasta Kearns Moore will moderate the event.

TRIBUNE PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - Some of the participants in the Debate for Oregon's Future pose for a photo inside the KOIN Center tower on Saturday, Sept. 22 in Portland. From Left: Genesis Gomez, Ja Neciya Ross, Tosha Kitungano, Adi Solomon, Shimon Dasgupta, Rose Lawrence and Jeremy Clark