Sunday, September 12, 2010

Who ARE These People? (that Want Your Vote) Find Out: Monday, Sept. 13th, 7:00pm

Who is running to represent you? Come out and find out Monday night at Lafayette College. Debate questions will come from YOU the voters on written cards beforehand. What would you like to know about where the candidates stand? 

Posted by: Noel Jones

If you haven't done it already since my last post on the debate, clear your calendars and call the babysitter--don't miss this rare opportunity to see three candidates who want to represent you in Congress duke it out on the issues in front of a live audience of voters! The event will take place on Lafayette's campus at Oechsle Hall from 7-8pm, but get there early if you want to write down a question for the candidates! Below is some background info on each I was able to dig up--my research is in no way complete though, so you should do your own, and above all--COME OUT TO THE CANDIDATES FORUM AND SEE THEM ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS LIVE!

One note--there is this really terrific, politically-neutral site for voters called where you can see everything your elected officials in congress have been up to--every vote, every campaign contribution, every rating from special interest groups, and every position papers on the issues. I will be posting a link to it often between now and election day, as we discuss important races that will affect our area. When I post on each race, the link for the incumbent will be a link to their VoteSmart page, and posting links to campaign pages for the challengers, since for the most part, they won't have a lot reported on VoteSmart unless they get elected. I have done the best I can so far, and here's what I was able to turn up on four big local issues--it may not be perfect--if anyone has more complete or accurate info,  please post it in a comment!

Charlie Dent (R-Incumbent) 
Promoting Job Creation/Small Businesses: Voted against Stimulus Bill. Wants to reduce corporate income tax, capital gains tax and estate tax. Voted against the 2009 American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, which was designed to close tax breaks for companies who hire overseas and established tax cuts for businesses who hire new employees within America’s borders. Believes government doesn't create jobs, businesses do, so we should reduce taxes on businesses.
Health Care Reform: Voted against President Obama's 2010 Health Care Reform Bill and is against health insurance mandates.
Education: Supports funding Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and in favor of resolving conflicts with IDEA and No Child Left Behind. Also supports literacy programs like the National Writing Project, Education for Democracy Act, and Even Start.
Hydrofracking for natural gas: He is on the Delaware River Basin Task Force and wants to "Remove barriers to all domestic energy production."

John Callahan (D)
Promoting Job Creation/Small Businesses: Wants to end tax loopholes for companies that send jobs overseas, and give tax credit to small businesses who hire new employees in America.
Health Care Reform: In favor of President Obama's 2010 Health Care Reform Bill.
Education: In favor of merit-based pay for teachers whose students improve in academic performance.
Hydrofracking for natural gas: [I could find no stated opinion]

Jake Towne (I)
Promoting Job Creation/Small Businesses: Thinks welfare and unemployment benefits are a disincentive to job creation. Wants to reduce PA state corporate tax to encourage businesses to invest in PA. Wants to abolish workman’s compensation. Thinks enrollment in SS should be voluntary not mandatory. Abolish federal income tax. Opposes union influence on job market. Wants to abolish the minimum wage.

Health Care Reform: Thinks government should not provide health care on taxpayer dollars. Wants to abolish Medicare and Medicaid. Against mandating health insurance for individuals. In favor of torte reform at state level.

Education: Wants to abolish the Department of Education. Thinks government should not be providing education on taxpayer dollars.

Hydrofracking for natural gas: Supports temporary moratorium and safety studies to determine proper regulations needed for oversight of the hydraulic fracturing process. Thinks natural gas companies should be 100% liable for any damage done to resident health, drinking water or property.  

If you have any thoughts about these positions, or more information on the candidates to share, please post a comment, and I hope to see you at the debate tomorrow!


noel jones said...

A bunch of us will be gathering at Porters Pub around 6pm to leave to head up to Lafayette for the debate by 6:30 so that we can get our questions in...the more the merrier!

noel jones said...

If anyone is wondering how to get to Oeschle Hall at Lafayette, click the link on the words "Oeschle Hall" in my main post, and a google map will pop up.

noel jones said...

the forum was packed--the 150 seat auditorium overflowed and their overflow room was completely packed as well--not sure how many extra people that was--all i heard was "packed" and "a LOT".

i did a transcription of the gist and will be posting on the debate later today...

Ryan Champlin said...

Candidate Towne's positions are definitely interesting. I like where he stands on the Hydrofracking issue, and I can understand the income tax abolishment as long as it is replaced by some other type of funding; but in general, his positions are way too extreme and not realistic.

For example, he wants to not only get rid of our social safety nets while also abolishing any security that workers have with wages and benefits (no minimum wage, no workman's comp, no unions). So, when businesses start paying their workers $4 an hour again, what are we going to do with all of our homeless and starving people? I'm sorry, but that is a position that only rich people can support and thrive under. The remaining 97% of us have to worry about the rich people that we are at the mercy of.

And without federal funding for education, guess what happens? Suburban schools continue to get better and urban schools continue to get worse. Schools have to be funded somehow, and if they are only tied to local property taxes and perhaps some state funding (though why is state funding any better than federal?), then the areas with the largest and most valuable properties (often the outer suburbs) will have the funding and the distressed areas will not. Under this proposal, I doubt any schools in the West Ward, and maybe not in Easton city limits, would have the funding to operate.

These are pie-in-the-sky, ultra-conservative fiscal proposals that sound good in theory but are devastating in reality. I'm sure Mr. Towne is a good person and means well, but I don't even want to think about what the Lehigh Valley could become under his proposed representation.

noel jones said...

Thanks for posting, Ryan! I'm going to copy and paste your comment into the current thread on the debate, so that it can be part of the ongoing conversation--it's the one called "They Are Coming For YOU" with the pic of the three cowboys (for now). "See you" there...