Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bilirakis challengers debate their differences

TAMPA — With the primary just two weeks away, three Democratic contenders in the 9th Congressional District race debated Social Security and energy policy Tuesday in a campaign forum.

The Democratic winner faces incumbent Republican House member Gus Bilirakis in November, and the GOP first-termer drew criticism on energy policy.

Anita de Palma, John Dicks and Bill Mitchell addressed about 25 Democratic activists at a meeting of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Democratic Professionals Council at Mise En Place. All three candidates said they oppose offshore drilling.

De Palma said oil companies should tap the "68-million acres of leased land" they have.

Mitchell, a Tampa lawyer, said Congress needs to investigate possible collusion by energy speculators, and promote alternative power sources.

Dicks, a former Plant City mayor, said he would increase in the margin requirements on futures trading and promote research into alternative fuels. He questioned whether Bilirakis' July trip to the Alaskan Arctic National Wildlife Refuge indicates he's about to reverse his stance on offshore drilling.

Bilirakis' political director, Nick Hansen, said Bilirakis "went to ANWR and the Renewable Energy Lab to get the facts to solve this crisis and to hear from Alaskans about their experiences with drilling. He has consistently said we must protect our beaches and coastlines. If and when we can drill safely, it would be irresponsible to not, at least, be open to the possibility."

On Social Security, de Palma said the first step was to get every American worker, including federal employees and elected officials, into the system. Dicks and Mitchell both said the system needs to be streamlined to speed up payments to the disabled.

Mitchell has said that Social Security will rebound along with the economy. Only Dicks supported a gradual rise in the minimum retirement age.

District 9 spans parts of Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties.

Rita Farlow can be reached at farlow@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4162.

Bilirakis challengers debate their differences 08/12/08 [Last modified: Monday, August 18, 2008 4:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pasco targets repeat offenders with new code enforcement tactic

    Local Government

    HOLIDAY — The out-of-date and overpriced gasoline cost on the sign outside — $2.69 for a gallon of regular — is the first indication that business isn't booming.

    Basil A. Almamluk is the owner of the closed Pure Gas station in Holiday, which has emerged as a poster child for a new "high return'' county code enforcement effort. The property on Mile Stretch Drive is littered with discarded furniture and other trash. [Photo courtesy of Pasco County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Pasco tax roll shows increase, but so, too, are budget requests

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County's tax roll grew by more than 5 percent in 2016, but it's a figure that likely would require local government budget writers to trim proposed spending requests.

    OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
New construction accounted for $693.5 million in taxable property values being added to the Pasco County tax rolls in 2016, according to preliminary estimates released by Property Appraiser Gary Joiner. Overall, the property tax roll grew more than 5 percent, according to the preliminary numbers.

  3. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021

    Bucs

    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  4. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  5. Analysis: Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared

    World

    LONDON — For Britain's security agencies, London always seemed like the likely target. For years, the capital of 8 million with hundreds of thousands of weekly tourists and dozens of transit hubs had prepared for and feared a major terror attack.