The hot-button issues of fair trade, education, immigration and health care lived up to their promise Sunday during a a candidate forum for contests in the Iowa Quad-Cities.
About 130 audience members listened while candidates answered questions that were provided by students in a 2 1/2-hour session in the Rogalski Center at St. Ambrose. Candidates did not answer any live questions from the audience.
The event was hosted by the Greater Quad-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Scott Community College and St. Ambrose University. One of the objectives of the forum was to encourage voter turnout from the Hispanic community.
“Brown hands not only pick the food for the world, but they also pick the next president of the United States of America,” said Maria Mier-Llaca, who was the event co-chairperson with Rob Hill.
U.S. House of Representative candidates from Iowa’s 2nd District, Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa City, and Republican
challenger John Archer from Bettendorf, addressed global fair trade.
“I think we have to hold China accountable,” Loebsack said. “People want us to make things in America again.”
His opponent accused Loebsack of voting against a fair trade agreement “that would have created jobs in Iowa. He voted against jobs,” Archer said. He also said Loebsack attacked Deere & Co. and that the United Auto Workers were in favor of the free-trade agreements.
“I have absolutely no beef with John Deere,” Loebsack said. His concern, he said, is with Archer and the differences in their views on trade policy.
Loebsack said he supports the Affordable Care Act of 2010, but “If my opponent had his way, just being a woman could be considered a pre-existing condition,” adding that every American should have health coverage.
“We need to stop using scare tactics” when it comes to repealing ‘Obamacare,’” Archer said. “We need to talk about the costs of health care,” adding that competitive bidding should be opened for health care.
“We have to discuss costs and get costs under control anytime we talk about health care,” he said.
Both had different views on the issue of immigration.
“It is a federal issue,” Loebsack said. “We can’t have 50 different state (immigration) laws ... We need to crack down on employers who employ (undocumented workers).”
Archer received some boos when he said he does not support the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors act, the so-called Dream Act, that would give conditional residency to some undocumented residents who graduated from U.S. schools, served in the military or came to the United States as minors.
“It’s time we got serious about our borders. Securing our borders is a national security issue,” Archer said.
Compared to the intense atmosphere at a similar forum hosted by the chamber last week, the atmosphere was subdued.
Other candidates seeking election to the Scott County Board of Supervisors, Scott County Auditor and Scott County Sheriff also spoke briefly.
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Other candidates who spoke at the forum included:
n State Senate District 46: Iowa Sen. Shawn Hamerlinck, a Republican, and candidate Chris Brase, a Democrat.
State Representative District 89: Rep. Jim Lykam, a Democrat, and candidate Bill Edmond, a Republican.
State Representative District 90: Rep. Cindy Winckler, a Democrat, and candidate Mark Riley, nominated by petition.
State Representative District 92: Candidate Frank B. Wood, a Democrat, whose opponent Rep. Ross C. Paustian, Republican, did not attend.
State Representative District 93: Rep. Phyllis Thede, a Democrat, and candidate Mark Nelson, a Republican.
State Representative District 94: Rep. Linda Miller, a Republican, and candidate Maria Bribriesco, a Democrat.
State Representative District 97: Rep. Steven Olson, a Republican, and candidate Ted Whisler, a Democrat.