In any presidential debate, the moderator faces nearly as much scrutiny as the candidates themselves. With that said, meet the moderator for tonight’s debate in Nashville, Kristen Welker. Welker arrives in Nashville after travelling from NBC’s Washington, D.C. bureau.
Before working her way up to the national stage, Welker grew up in Philadelphia where she attended the prestigious Germantown Friends School. After graduating from high school, she headed up to the Boston area to attend Harvard University. In 1998, she earned her undergraduate degree, but one year before graduating she interned at the Today show. Welker’s internship at NBC inevitably foreshadowed her career path.
After graduating from Harvard, Welker began working ABC affiliate stations in Rhode Island and California. Seven years after her college graduation, she found her way back to her hometown of Philadelphia. For five years, she worked for NBC’s Philadelphia affiliate, WCAU. In 2010, she made her way to the national stage.
Welker began working as NBC’s west coast correspondent in 2010. Less than two years in California, she made her way back to the East Coast as the network’s White House correspondent. For nearly a decade, she has worked hard to cover the White House while also appearing on NBC Nightly News, Weekend News and of course, the Today show.
Tonight, Welker will become the first and only person of color to moderate a debate during this election cycle. She was raised by a Black mother and a father of Native American descent. In 2017, she married Merck executive John Hughes.
During the debate, Welker has elected to answer questions regarding race in America, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, leadership and American families.