Who Is Lester Holt? The Democratic Debate Moderator Is The Best Guy For The Job

NBC News' anchor Lester Holt will be the principle moderator for Sunday evening's Democratic debate, featuring the fourth standoff between liberal candidates Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, and Hillary Clinton, and the first Democratic debate of 2016. As the primary moderator for Sunday's debate, Holt's main job will be to finalize the rounding out of the remaining Democratic candidates as they and voters quickly approach the Iowa caucus and primary election cycle. So who is NBC news anchor Lester Holt, and how did he snag such an important role in the final days before the primaries?

The journalist currently sits at the helm of NBC Nightly News, having been selected as the program's host after former anchor and managing editor Brian Williams was inundated by controversy in early 2015. This marked a significant moment in both Holt's career and network television, as the journalist's takeover of the Nightly News anchor role also served as an important time in the lives of black journalists. Holt was the first black person to ever be appointed as the chief anchor for a broadcast network's weekday nightly newscast. The journalist's 34-year career, which included time with CBS and MSNBC, had been solidified in gaining this hard-won position.

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Holt's position as the first black person to secure that title makes him particularly important for 2016's first Democratic debate. The location of the debate, Charleston, South Carolina, has been the site of two racially-motivated attacks within the last year. Because of this and his title, Holt is in a particularly good position to ask tough questions of the candidates.

The first incident, the shooting of an unarmed black man named Walter Scott, left the public outraged after Scott was killed by a white police officer during a routine traffic stop. The officer was later indicted on murder charges. The second attack, branded as the Charleston church massacre, left nine black individuals dead during a service at downtown Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The alleged shooter, Dylann Roof, later admitted he carried out the attack in the hopes that the event would ignite a race war.

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In addition to the pertinent location, this debate is also hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and taking place just a day before Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Holt is the perfect moderator to hold the candidates to task on their racial equality platforms, a topic that they should pay especially close attention to during this particular debate.