News Release

Charles Koch Refuses to Debate Prop 23 with California Student Leader


Student Joel Francis presented a debate challenge letter in person to the Wichita, Kansas offices of Koch Industries’ CEO Charles Koch. Koch has bankrolled the California ballot initiative, Proposition 23, with at least $1 million.

JOEL FRANCIS, via Gabriel Elsner
California State University, Los Angeles senior, former Marine and debate team veteran Joel Francis traveled from Los Angeles to Wichita to follow up the promise he made in his viral video ( to issue the challenge to debate California Proposition 23 in person if ignored by Koch. Francis was prevented from entering the building to request to see Koch in person. See video

He first issued the debate challenge via video last Thursday as a part of Power Vote California, a project of the California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC).

Francis said today: “Californians are concerned that Prop. 23 threatens to gut California’s clean energy economy by suspending landmark climate change laws.”

“As a senior, I’m worried that the dirty energy initiative Mr. Koch is funding would jeopardize $10 billion of private investment in the state’s clean energy economy and ruin one of the California economy’s only bright spots. Many of us who are getting ready to enter the workforce are looking to the clean technology sector as a strong employment option,” Francis said. “If Mr. Koch is going to come into our state with his money, a lot of people would like to hear directly from him why he is trying to wreck our economy’s development. For somebody who has spent three decades and hundreds of millions of dollars funding groups that advocate for personal responsibility and accountability, Mr. Koch is avoiding an opportunity to exhibit it himself.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167