September 1, 2014

Third Congressional District candidates spar at debate

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com

All three candidates for the Third Congressional seat in Kansas agree on at least one thing – the Bush tax cuts should not be allowed to expire.

“I think this is a special day, because we all agree on one thing,” Jasmin Talbert, the Libertarian candidate, told an audience of approximately 200 during a debate Oct. 6 at Johnson County Community College.

Democratic candidate Stephene Moore and Republican candidate Kevin Yoder also said the Bush tax cuts should be extended. Yoder said the tax cuts should be permanent, but Moore said the cuts should only be permanent for 98 percent of Americans. For the top 2 percent of earners, the tax cuts should expire at some point, Moore said.

“Making (the tax cuts) permanent for them will increase the deficit by $700 billion over 10 years,” Moore said.

The three – who are vying to replace Moore’s husband, Dennis Moore, in Congress – sparred over a variety of issues including the new health care law, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and illegal immigration. Most answers were greeted noisily by a rowdy crowd that appeared evenly divided in their support for the various candidates.

Yoder said he would work to repeal and replace the health care law.

“I don’t believe the federal government is going to be able to cut costs and reduce spending in health care,” he said.

Talbert said she also supports repealing the law, but Moore said repealing it would lead to further deficits.

As a nurse, Moore said she has seen the results of the American health care system first hand.

“To me the idea of doing nothing was unacceptable,” she said.

All three said they supported Arizona’s recent law that allows police to ask the immigration status of those they arrest.

“I absolutely support Arizona,” Talbert said. “I think it’s unfortunate that Arizona had to address such a law.”

When the discussion turned to cap and trade, legislation before Congress that would tax carbon emissions, the rhetoric was a bit sharper.

Yoder called cap and trade a business-killing tax. Talbert agreed saying the legislation would put an undue burden on businesses. But Moore said the legislation offers choices about jobs and security.

“Cap and trade is not a law, Kevin,” Moore said. “Cap and trade is an opportunity to start a discussion about the issue at hand.”

The three also differed on proposed card check legislation. The legislation would allow employees to unionize by signing public cards stating their interest in joining a labor union.

Moore said despite reports to the contrary, card check legislation does not do away with secret ballots, and she would support it.

Talbert got the biggest applause with her answer.

“I wouldn’t support card check,” she said. “In researching it, I think somehow this bill was introduced probably by union lobbyists.”

Yoder also said he would oppose the legislation, because it would not create jobs and wouldn’t help jump start the economy.

He said those were the biggest issues in the campaign.

“The federal government has to stop spending so much of our money,” he said in his closing statement. He supports rolling back spending to 2008 levels. “We need to let free enterprise work.”

In her closing statement, Moore called Yoder a career politician.

“He ran so far to the right during the primary, no one could recognize him as working for the Democrats at KU so few years ago,” she said.

Talbert said fiscal conservatism isn’t just a political idea, it’s a way of life for her. She said if she sees one of her campaign brochures on the ground, she’ll pick it up.

“That’s 83 cents,” she said. If she is sent to Washington she will be as careful with taxpayer money, that she said is unfortunately taken from people involuntarily, as she is with her own funds.

The entire debate will be broadcast on Time Warner On Demand KC through Nov. 2.

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