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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Democrats for Congress debate economy, Iraq



Simpsonnew Linn Hackworth PINELLAS PARK -- The three Democrats competing to challenge Rep. C.W. Bill Young for his congressional District 10 seat had their second debate tonight.

The candidates are Samm Simpson, of Dunedin, who earned 34 percent of the vote against Young in 2006; Max Linn, of Treasure Island, who ran for governor with the Reform Party in 2006; Bob Hackworth, who is the mayor of Dunedin.

Here are some highlights:

On immigration:

Simpson: The North American Free Trade Agreement sent subsidized corn into Mexico and starved families. “If we’re going to change immigration we have to realize that we’re part of the problem.” She said immigration is an issue of economics and labor. If we have more jobs and food, people will get along better.

Linn: Immigration is part of America, but immigrants are taking American jobs and stressing social services. The impact on social services is the biggest problem. “What we need to do is set the standard if you’re going to come over here and work it has to be legally and you have to contribute to the system,” Linn said.

Hackworth: Agreed that immigration is part of American social fabric and said he supports Barack Obama’s plan for comprehensive immigration reform. “We also have to recognize those who are here, even those who are here illegally, must have path to citizenship.”


On Iraq and talking to hostile countries

Hackworth: Said he supports Obama’s positions both on careful withdrawal from Iraq and talking to foreign leaders.

Simpson: Said she has felt the same way about the Iraq War all along, “I just grieve a little bit more today. We absolutely have to be out of Iraq.” She also supports talking to foreign leaders.

Linn: Said he’s seen the atrocities of the war at Walter Reed and through the Military Families Foundation. “We need to get out of there no matter what the military leaders say,” Linn said, adding he will hold Obama to his promise to withdrawal because he met with Obama for about 15 minutes in 2006 to talk about Linn’s unpublished book on the candidate.

  Why they’re the best candidate to face Bill Young

  Linn: argued he’s the only one who has changed policy statewide through his fight for term limits. “I think I’m the only candidate who realistically can beat Bill Young. If I’m lucky enough to get your vote on August 26 I will squash Bill Young like a tomato come November.”

  Hackworth: Beating Young won’t be easy, and he’s the only one who can talk about what he has done, rather than will do, as an elected official. “That’s going to be an incredibly important distinction in the general election.” He said whoever wins the district, which is mostly Republican, will have to win independents and Republicans. “That’s the math,” he said.

  Simpson: Said she showed leadership and vision by challenging Bill Young in 2006, when she won 34 percent of the vote. “I’m the only person up here who’s been a Democrat longer than six months. I think that qualifies me to be a Democratic congressperson.”

On healthcare

Linn: Supports a single-payer universal healthcare system. “I think in Obama’s heart that’s where he wants to go, but I think he’s playing the political dance.” He added,“Healthcare is a right not a privilege.”

Hackworth: Said he supports the idea that Americans are entitled to affordable, universal healthcare. But he said he’s willing to work with Republicans to compromise and offer something better. “I think part of the problem is the insistence on a single idea.”

Simpson: Said she supports single-payer healthcare, or H.R. 676, as a candidate who’s been endorsed by the National Progressive Democrats of America. She agreed to be open to other ideas, but added that America should foster the health of its people in addition to addressing the issue of healthcare.

On the economy

Hackworth: Would invest money into rebuilding infrastructure and improving mass transit. “It will work because it’s worked in the past,” he said.

Simpson: Supports fundamental monetary reform and questions why credit cards can charge huge interest when a user misses a payment but banks can borrow cheaply. She suggested Congress should control the printing of money instead of the Federal Reserve. Also wants to make sure “that these lenders and these congressmen that created these kinds of loans need to go to jail.”

Linn: Said the economy is his No.1 issue as a former financial planner. He wants to put up tariffs to keep jobs from flowing overseas. He said the middle class is growing in China and India and diminishing in the U.S. “Unless the people stand up and say we need fair trade, not free trade, we’re going to continue in a deep, deep recession.”

--Stephanie Garry, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:30am]


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