Direct Link to CVTV video of the Forum, with thanks to Jeremy for posting it in comments : http://tinyurl.com/29ygogo
For any who may think politics are boring and few are paying attention, this evening’s forum for 3rd Congressional Candidates, held at Clark College’s Gaiser Hall should put that to rest as the auditorium was near capacity as Clark County voters turned out to hear what just may be the only chance we in Clark County have to see and listen to all 6 candidates running to replace retiring Brian Baird.
Attending the forum were Democrats Denny Heck and Cheryl Crist, Independent Normal Jean Stevens and Republicans, David Castillo, David Hedrick and Jaime Herrera. All answered questions posed by moderator, Elson Strahan.
I found some of the questions a bit curious, not readily seeing the relevancy to the 3rd Congressional District, but at the same time I realize a congressman will have to vote on and address issues outside of our district. Also, such questions do give voters the ability to see how well each candidate is informed on all of the issues and their ability to think on their feet.
I was immediately disappointed to hear Jaime Herrera state she placed “dead last” on Evergreen Freedom Foundation’s Big Spender list. Disappointed because she is but one of 20 that placed that low on their list.
Asked bout the Columbia River Crossing project, Denny Heck stated he supports a new bridge with light rail and as for tolls, he quoted, “No Tolls, No Bridge.”
David Hedrick, 31 year-old former Marine and accountant spoke of his last employer being a bridge builder, granting him insight into such a project.
Cheryl Crist surprised me as she stated she is receptive to a new bridge, but not to tolls, saying the Federal Government should either for the cost 100% or form a partnership with Oregon, Washington and the Federal Government to fund the project.
Adding her anti-war leaning to the answer, Crist added that if we can build state of the art facilities for Baghdad, they should be able too across the Columbia River as well.
Jaime Herrera agreed with Crist and David Castillo drew a laugh as he stood up saying “the apocalypse is upon us” as he agreed too.
Asked about the ongoing war, Crist responded that we had killed over one million in Iraq and we should bring the Troops home from both theaters and spend the money elsewhere.
Hedrick spoke of the constitution giving congress the authority to vote for and fund the war, but the president is Commander in Chief.
Herrera replied that Barack Obama did the right thing in firing General McChrystal and that he should create a “Unity of Purpose” between the public, Congress and himself.
Castillo pointed out that Iraq is a success and on the road to being a “Muslim version of Israel” in implementing a Democratic form of government.
Denny Heck remarked that Afghanistan is now America’s longest war and what do we have to show for it? I would answer no additional terrorist attacks on our soil during the remainder of the Bush administration, Denny.
Asked about the current Health care reform that recently passed, Jaime Herrera called for a complete do over, but expressed admiration for Obama in that he made health care a “priority” where the Republicans completely failed on any health care.
Castillo is running on a promise to fight to repeal the health care reform bill and pointed out that Herrera’s comment earlier that she favors free market solutions in reforming health care do not fly since she voted in the legislature to give the state Insurance Commissioner more control over private health care insurance and that is not a “free market” solution.
Denny Heck spoke of ways to bring the cost of health care down while Norma Jean Stevens said the bill was not the way and that there are many ideas out there to look at.
Hedrick claimed he would personally author a bill to repeal health care reform and that should Obama veto it, it will be his last veto as he is going to be gone in 2012. I think he might have overlooked that before it can get to the president’s desk, first the House must pass the bill and then the Senate and both must be in agreement with each other.
Sorry Corporal, but you missed some important steps in your rhetoric.
Herrera called for an immigration system that works, reminding the audience that we immigrated here too.
Castillo continued his call for sealing the border, placing National Guard troops there, implementing e-verify, use drones and find illegal’s within our jails that did not commit a capital crime and immediately deport them.
Denny Heck said the current Arizona law is an example of the failure of the Federal Government in handing the problem of illegal immigration and that he favors a comprehensive immigration reform, while Hedrick chimed in that we cannot afford not to deport all of the illegal’s currently in the country.
Cheryl Crist spoke of no fence, lightheartedly referring to it as communist fence, but favored electronic monitoring along the border. She also called for what she labels a “compassionate but vigorous path to citizenship” for illegal’s currently residing in the country.
The candidates were asked 9 questions in total and each gave their answer, Norma Jean Stevens saying she wasn’t up to speed on some of them.
After the event, I had occasion to speak to several people who all came away with a better understanding of the candidates. One lady did not know about Herrera’s support for the pro-SEIU bill, HB 1329 mentioned by Castillo or of her joining in with the Democrats to raid our last $229, 000, 000 from the rainy day fund, with yet another $3 Billion budget deficit facing us. She was very interested in hearing some particulars on it.
Leaving the hall I ran into Denny Heck and also had a pleasant conversation about the forum. He stated he too is particularly impressed with David Castillo and his command of issues, even ones he does not share David’s view of. I have to admit, I found Denny and his family very likable, even if we do disagree on many political issues.
In my estimation and that of several others present, once again Democrat Denny Heck and Republican David Castillo showed over all that they are the two we should see in the general election as they are the ones who continually exhibit the best knowledge of the issues and present the most specific ideas of how to address them.
August 18 will show us just who faces who in November, though.
I congratulate Leadership Clark County and Miller Nash Attorney’s at Law for hosting and sponsoring this opportunity for Clark County to see all of the candidates together in this pivotal campaign.