Surprises spice up 3rd District debate

first_imgThe candidates have appeared together so often they could finish each other’s sentences.The standing-room audience packed into the Gaiser Hall Auditorium at Clark College was asked not to applaud, and mostly complied.Still, there was plenty of opportunity to judge the six candidates running for the open 3rd Congressional District seat Thursday evening as they fielded questions on topics from the war in Afghanistan to the economy at home.There were a few surprises: Democrat Denny Heck said “every member of Congress ought to take a 10 percent pay cut” until the economic crisis that is crippling middle-class families has passed.Republican David Castillo, responding to a question about national energy policy, called climate change “bunk.”Republican David W. Hedrick said, “climate change may be real, but there is no evidence whatsoever that humans caused it.”Heck emphatically dissented, saying, “climate change is real, and the fact is we have an imperative to reduce our use of fossil fuel.”Candidates sparred over immigration reform, health care reform, the war in Afghanistan and tolling Clark County residents to pay for a new bridge over the Columbia River.Political newcomer Norma Jean Stevens, an Independent who lives in Ocean Park, answered most questions by reading from her website issues page, but she took a pass on a question about impending water shortages, admitting that’s a topic she hasn’t studied.Olympia peace activist Cheryl Crist, whose son is on active duty in the Air Force, called for bringing American troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, closing some of the nation’s 800 military bases around the world, and redirecting billions of dollars from the Pentagon to solving critical problems at home.last_img

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