tv American Perspectives CSPAN July 17, 2010 8:00pm-11:00pm EDT
elbows with elite media members in idaho. it is a shame that he could not be in chicago to hear the voices of the people that his agency is charged with protecting. i look forward to hearing from my fellow panelists as well as members of the public. >> denied, three political debates. at the michigan governors republican primary debate. after that the tennessee governor's debate. after that, a democratic debate for rhode island's first district house seat. now, the tennessee governor's debate where we will hear from the state's lieutenant governor, those seeking to replace phil bredesen.
this is about one hour. >> live from oakland university. we prevent decision 2010, the republican gubernatorial debate -- present decision 2010, the republican gubernatorial debate. >> good evening and welcome to our exclusive coverage of the final republican gubernatorial debate. we're coming to you live from the metal broke theater in route -- from the meadow brook theater. i know you have helped me -- and these questions from the dozens and dozens of phone calls and e- mails that have come in over the past couple of weeks. first off, the rules for tonight's debate. each candidate will have a one- minute opening statement. we'll get 30-second closing
statements at the end of the evening. we will have questions and answers. i am the moderator this evening. i will be asking the questions. you will have one minute to answer the question. you are allotted two rebuttals offerings tonight, 30 seconds apiece. if there is an answer to which you would like to rebut, i will call on you. the republican candidates are sheriff mike bashar, attorney general mike cox, centered on george, congressman pete hoekstra, and businessmen rick snyder. we're pleased to have three weeks till the primary. senator george, congressman hoekstra -- gentleman, thank you for being here tonight. as for george, we begin with you. >> good evening. just as many of you are facing financial hardships, our state
is nearly broke and approaching bankruptcy. to preserve our solvency, we need to cut spending. the biggest expense in stake in vermont has become health care. -- in state government has become health care. the missing element is personal responsibility. my opponents have all promised massive tax cuts and spending increases. the sacred -- the secret formula for potable -- for political success which has given us $13 trillion of federal debt. we have an opportunity in november to approve the call for constitutional convention and reform government itself, reopening michigan for business. i'm the only candidate who seized the advantage. you can read about me online. we will fix michigan together. >> sheriff mike bouchard. >> many of you know me as the
oakland county sheriff, the job by love and i am passionate about. i have been the sheriff for 11 years. i've been in law enforcement for 24 years. my wife and i have three kids. if someone does not get into the job as governor and know what to do, how to do it and is willing to do it with a sense of urgency, all of our kids and families will have to leave the state to find their future. it is unacceptable. i am the only one running that knows what to do, how to do, and is willing to do it. i was part of doing it in the 1990's with the governor then. we're one of the best states when i left government. we have to get jobs back to keep our families here. it is about the next generation, not the next election. i will do whatever it takes to give the kids a future in this state. >> mike cox. >> good evening.
i am mike cox. i am asking for your vote. i want to thank all of you who are viewing, as well as the grizzlies of oakland university for hosting this. my parents came to this great country 60 years ago. they chose to go to the economic engine of america -- michigan. we have fallen over the past 60 years. they enjoyed the prosperity of michigan. the promise of prosperity is being lost for our children. it will take strong leadership. we have to decrease the size of state government by over $4 billion and pushed through a $2 billion tax cut to provide relief for every single working person in this country -- in this state and job creators as well. please join me, michigan right to live, and the statewide chamber of commerce, in this campaign to create a reformed michigan. >> congressman pete hoekstra.
>> thank you. it is good to be here. we have heard the stories of our friends and neighbors. the american and michigan dream has been taken away from them. government has gotten in the way. i hear the stories of people who wanted to invest, who wanted to grow jobs, to achieve their dream and their vision. but the state as graded barriers. we need well leadership that -- but the state has created the barriers. we need leadership. we need to streamline and reduce the cost of government. we need to reform the worst tax code in this country to get michigan moving again. thank you. >> you did your opening
statements in exactly 60 seconds. i will be polite, but ruthless and the question of the answer -- question and answer, it is possible to be both. -- if it is possible to be both. let's start with jobs. you have little bit of a divided over what the governor can do when it comes to creating jobs. to go out of every three e-mails i have received -- two out of every three e-mails i have received has been about jobs. what is your plan for putting michigan back to work? >> state government helps mold the environment that can be conducive to job growth. it regulates business, invest in infrastructure, educate our children. these all require resources. those resources have been shifted to social programs -- welfare and medicaid.
we used to have 5 million people working in michigan and 1 million on state aid. now we have 4 million working in a 3 million receiving state aid. those programs need to be redesigned to free up resources in change the environment. first and foremost, michigan has to remain solvent. we cannot afford tax cuts or do those things until we cut spending to balance our books. that is the order of the day. >> same question, sheriff mike bouchard pierre >> i do not believe government creates one drop. in punishes job creators -- creates one job. it punishes job creators. we need to focus on being competitive. we have to realize we're like a hamburger stand. if our hamburgers cost more and our lines are twice as long, they go somewhere else.
once we are competitive, they will come here to grow. we did that in the 1990's. we cut taxes, spending or form, the regulatory process. it is like the movie "field of dreams," if you build it, they will come. government does not create jobs, but the internment for entrepreneurial activity -- but the environment for entrepreneurs real activity. >> mike cox. >> thank you. imagine going out tomorrow and you walk up to a store. the store says, come shop with us. we have a third-highest prices in the mall. would you go into that store? of course not. michigan has the third-highest job tax in the country. is it any wonder that we are now second in unemployment? hundreds of thousands of our
fellow citizens are working -- looking for work. my friends, neighbors, brother- in-law. we need to lower the price. we need to reduce the size of state government. we can do a $2 billion tax cut to move michigan from the third- worst drop tax in the country to the seventh-best. -- job tax in the country to the seventh-best. we will have freedom, prosperity, and opportunity. that is why the chamber of commerce is on my team. thank you very much. >> congressman hoekstra. >> it is time we get on the side of the people in this great state. they say get government out of the way. listen to the stories of ryan and grant haven. the power plant has been completed. he was excited, but as he thought he would be able to build the power plant in rogers city.
government got in the way. this governor said no. bill is in the tree harvesting business. the state says you cannot harvest trees anymore. we're changing the life of bill and his family in generations to come. tim runs a business here in southeast michigan. the tax code says you are better off if you go out and buy a used equipment, rather than buying the best equipment to enable you to compete with other states and globally. create an environment that allows the people of michigan to achieve their dreams. get government out of the way. >> time. we have orbital request from senator george. -- are but a request from senator george. >> imagine going to a state where the check bounces. it is marked insufficient funds. a state that cannot pay its obligations, like california. the republican governor there is leading with tax cuts.
stained -- saying he will eliminate the business tax in your first month of august -- of office is a pipe dream. businesses will not come to a state that cannot pay its bills. >> i would like to talk about china. several business leaders i know have been dismayed to hear republicans are doing with the other -- arguing with each other over who had sent jobs to china. they have done it to grow their footprint, and wayne -- amway being one notable example. the governor has not done anything to visit the world economy. the business leaders are concerned that there is a similar china-phobia. is china a threat or an opportunity? >> certainly china and other
countries, where we're selling our products, we can grow our footprint. the challenge has been for the government which has been chasing jobs elsewhere at the expense of companies here. i was one of only four people to vote against the creation of a mega -- of mega. they give out tax breaks at the expense of folks here. the men and women here want to start companies here. by chasing companies all around the globe and subsidizing them, we ignore our own self- sustaining ability. it is not sustainable. do i want our companies to be global? absolutely. we have to make sure michigan is a place to grow and start a business. >> mike cox. >> i think that perhaps those
business leaders were confused. one of the folks in the campaign who is not here tonight claimed to be a job creator. none of the jobs were created here. they are in the pacific rim. china is an opportunity that we ought to take advantage of. gm sells more cars to china than they do here in north america. as gm realigns itself, as ford realigns itself, with the design and engineering talent right here in michigan, i see a day where chinese and indian -- east indian, as well as indonesian's, brazilians -- they will want to buy great american cars, designed and built here in michigan. i will tell you that, if we -- i do plead guilty to being a tax- cutter. we will become more competitive. we will be a great place to do
business. >> congressman hoekstra. >> i may have an interest of -- interesting perspective being on the intelligence committee. china cheats on national security and a cheat on economic security issues. until we told china accountable to live by the agreements that they make with us, whether our national security or trade, they are a threat. they need to live by the agreements. they need to be held accountable. when we hold them accountable, they become an opportunity. that is how we treat with china. on our side, we need to make sure we put in place the right policies that enabled american and michigan workers to complete global the -- to compete globally. if we put in too much red tape and the government spends too much, we're burdening our workers, making it difficult for them to compete on a global
basis. >> that is time, congressman. senator george. >> we need to look for opportunities, including china. growth will be in small business. i am only one here that works in a small business. i am a practicing physician. i have been in the legislature for the past decade. we need to focus on business. i would institute a business advisory department -- a business insistence department to help businesses with permitting. we can facilitate sweeping away rules and regulations for small business growth. that is the engine of the economy. the sheriff says he is against picking winners and losers and a mega grants, but at the eight- mile blvd. association meeting, he said he was in favor of -- that is picking a winner versus a loser. listen to what they say in front
of different groups. will not need someone to promise one thing or the other. we need a governor who will be -- >> that is time. lansing and washington are polarized places. it is customary for one party to amass enough votes to get something to pass unilaterally, and then the other party sits back and hopes it fails. we have had two government shutdowns in michigan in the last couple of years. the current state budget is developing not familiar odor. what will you do to create an atmosphere of cooperation and bipartisanship in lansing? >> thank you. i will do what i do now as attorney general -- but for strong ideas and follow through with leadership. -- put forward strong ideas and follow through with leadership. people complain about partisanship.
people don't complain about it when things are getting done. the current governor does not provide leadership. you end up with more sniping. her allies realize it is not worth sticking with her. her opponents realize they can outwait her. i will be a strong leader, emphasizing the things i learned as a young man in the marine corps, as a homicide prosecutor, and as attorney general. i will stand up for the right things and build a coalition. that is what i have done as your attorney general. that is why i am endorsed by the michigan chamber of commerce. they understand a team builder when they see one. >> we will do the same thing that we have done and that i have done in all of my career. we bring the other teams of people from the diverge for rescue -- the diverse background to bring to market
different products. i bring my skills to pass a intelligence reform, working with people like joe lieberman. we have a shared vision for keeping america safe, with a willingness to compromise to get to a solution. at the end of the process, it may not be everything we hoped for, but it is better than what we had before. working on federal prison industry to protect mission -- michigan jobs. maile co-sponsors are john conyers and barney frank -- my lead the co-sponsors are john conyers and barney frank. >> senator george. >> thank you. i have the best record a bipartisan accomplishment. i have had to work with democrats. i have found a way to do it.
one of by first packages a bill was end of life care legislation. it was meant to bring better care to dying patients. i have worked on smoke-free air regulation, which would not have passed the michigan senate without my help. i'm working on a bipartisan package of bills to help facilitate new uses for abandoned and tax reverted properties. there are nearly 70,000 in michigan. bipartisanship is necessary. working together with the other side to get things done for the common good of the citizens. >> share of bouchard. >> thank you. i do not think the last eight years have been a success story. we need to move things for dramatically. i was the majority floor leader in the senate before i left, the assistant before that, the president pro tem. i know how get votes. that is what a leader does.
governor has not introduced one bill -- does not introduce bills or have a vote. you have to know the process of the legislature. i'm the only one has been a leader in the michigan legislature and got things done. the average legislature would put one thing into a lot every year. i averaged 10. be 55 out there'll of 110 state representatives who are brand new and 30 out of 38 senators who are brand new. we cannot afford to have a governor with training wheels. we need someone who knows the issues and the process. that is why i will -- where i will be on day one. >> they think michigan need not only change in its business culture and strategy, but also its reputation. it has been a nonstarter issue for years. some believe it is time for debate shoot -- a debate on the issue of right to work.
do you support the right to work? congressman hoekstra? >> i will focus on issues that will put people back to work. i will focus like a laser. if we go right to work, what the next governor is saying is we will create divisions in this state between business and labor, between republicans and democrats appear to get right to work past, you have to go about it, an initiative, and michigan would have an era of uncertainty, probably 18 months. that would poison the well. it would not lead us to embark on the job of changing rules and regulations. it would make it difficult to cut the costs of government that we need to cut to ensure our state is competitive. we will not be allowed to do what needs to be done in terms
of reforming taxes. right to work is not a priority in my agenda. >> right to work is one of the series and necessary reforms. the other is having a part-time legislature, better budgeting rules. oakland county has 62 townships and villages and 28 school districts. michigan cannot afford its governance structure. the best opportunity to make the changes is a constitutional convention. the writers of our fourth constitution in the 1960's knew that this time would come here they put in a provision saying that every 16 years the people would have the choice of reviewing the constitution. that will be on the ballot this fall. that is your best opportunity for those reforms. there is no way you can get there without turning government, constitutional convention back to the people.
that is the ticket to reopening michigan to business. >> i said i would find right to work. michigan needs to be bold in the future and send a clear sign that we're open for business. anything that stands in a way of future business opportunities will be looked at, including what my good friend tom talked about. i talk about a part-time legislature, part-time pay, no benefits. the budget done by may 15. every day after that, the governor and legislators lose one day's pay. a two-year budget with a three- year look out, independently verified by outside economists. we can do this without an expensive constitutional convention that could cost up to $40 million of money that we do not have. we need to individually and selectively go in and fix the problems across the board. we will send it out for an affirmation vote, which can be done on any given general election in november. whatever it takes -- i will do
whatever it takes to keep us in this state, which means taking out any group that stands in the way. >> that is time. mike cox. >> thank you. i grew up in a union household. for my uncle's retired at of the uaw. -- four of my uncles retired out of the uaw. my -- i will consider anything and everything that will move michigan ahead to create jobs, jobs, and jobs. we need to focus on our tax and spending structure. if you go to my website, you can see the details of my tax cuts, and reductions in spending. my daughter, right now, living outside of them this -- of memphis, a right to work state. as we have shrunk down the per- capita wealth, we are now 37 --
14 right to work states have passed us by. that is where our jobs are going. >> senator george has asked for a rebuttal. >> we share interest in the structure reforms. 11 out of the 16 structural reforms he called for our constitutional in nature. he is not going to lead 11 different constitutional drives. republican party just tried to get a measure on the ballot and they did not even get half of the signatures they needed. the best opportunity to reform the structure betterment with a constitutional convention. i trust the citizens of michigan to do the right thing. >> senator george, you will be first on the next question. arizona has been a crystal ball on the nation's immigration debate. there is passion and volatility. would you like the same shouldn't adopt a similar approach to that law passed in
arizona? -- would you like to see michigan adopt a similar approach to that law passed in the arizona? >> michigan would be best-served by a temporary worker program, managed by the federal government. people who are migrating here to work temporarily should only be here properly and legally. that is what the federal government can do to help us. they can protect our borders, but we cannot abandon our agricultural industry. we have two signed up -- help- wanted and go away. we cannot give those mixed messages and expect people to not want to come here illegally. we have to fix the system. it is the federal government's duty to do that. >> i serve on the joint tourism task force. a number of these issues related to homeland security -- it is one of my responsibilities today and will be as governor. i was asked what a thing about
illegal immigration. -- what i think about illegal immigration. if it starts with "illegal" i'm going to be against it. somehow that is not clear to the folks in washington. i will uphold the law. i will sue the government for a failure to do their job, failure to secure our border, and inflicting economic cost of our state that they have driven here in the first place. the northern border is twice as long as the southern border and has one half of the agents. the only terrorist stop on the way to commit a terrorist act was stopped on the northern border. is rule of law issue. >> i think the guy next year has similar hangups about that. >> my mom carried a green card religiously before she became a citizen. she kept it right next through
driver's license. it is not unreasonable for folks to come to this country to provide documentation when stopped by the police, it is a reasonable stop. i was just talking about that with governor brewer of arizona this afternoon. i am gathering other states to intervene to mark in the federal court out in arizona, to stand with arizona, michigan, we will defend our borders and our rights under the constitution. we will defend the idea that states should be able to -- should be allowed to work with the federal government to keep the illegal immigrants out of our country. that is only a common-sense idea. i will stand up on this issue as i have against obama-care. >> congressman hoekstra. >> i have the opportunity to go down to the board -- a few years ago, i had the sad opportunity
to go down to the border in arizona. a young man who had a dream to go work in our national parks was able to fulfill that dream, but he went to a national park in arizona and, in his duties along the border, he came across illegals coming into the country. he was outgunned and killed. it is a national security issue for arizona -- issue. for arizona, a but -- a public safety issue. the federal government does not enforce the law, the governor and the people of arizona have the right and responsibility to do that. we need is an together in demand that the federal garment u.s. job to secure the borders. -- we need to stand together and demand that the federal government do its job is secure
the borders. >> all four of you are publicly employed. some of you are on your second or third position in publicly- funded occupations. this may seem an indelicate question. i am curious as to what the value of your pension is that you're expecting from the public employment that you have enjoyed. is it fair or is it symbolic of the problem that many people believe exists in michigan and beyond? >> thank you. you raise a very salient point. is government out of step with the black -- with the private sector? wichita the private and public sectors together -- we should tie the private and public sectors together. we must reflect the workers that we're supposed to be serving. patterson is one of the only counties in america where the pre funded health care and
returns have not gone out of business. we have defined contributions. i have a 401k, as does every employee in oakland county. we have to do that with every public employee to reflect the people we serve. no one in the private sector is getting a pension anymore, and neither should new hires in the government. they could not get it done in lansing. they did a blended plan. >> i must have missed about you of your pension. >> i am on a defined contribution. $1,500 or $2,000, i never looked at it. >> from the time i was a marine, a homicide prosecutor, to being attorney general -- i am the one person on the stage
to does not have a defined- benefit pension. i do not know the number, but you can look at my website and you can look at all my assets. you can look at by pension. you can look at what my wife and i make. i am proud to show you all of my assets. there is no conflict of interest. i agree with everyone out there that the premise of why anyone has anything beyond a 401k these days escapes me. however, we do need pension reform. i have a 401k that has been hammered just like yours has. look at the website. i do not know today. it depends on thie stocks. >> that is time. >> the point of the question is exactly right. to many public-sector workers still have our range of benefits
and salaries that are significantly higher in the private sector. federal employees, of which i am one, i have the same benefit plan that every federal employee has. we still receive a defined- benefit plan, just like many public servants in michigan. federal employees, federal office holders, which followed in the same direction to define contributions -- to defined contribution. it brings equity between public workers and private sector employees. working for the state and federal government, county government -- it needs to be a good job. it cannot be an elite job. it cannot receive better pay and better compensation than what the people we work for received. >> senator? >> he is not the only one up here with a defined-benefit contribution plan. i have for 1 k plan as well.
this date switched to that in the late-1990's. -- i have a 401k plan as well. this state switch to that in the late-1990's. go to my website and scroll through the press releases where i have linked my tax returns. you can read all about me and my plan to fix michigan. it involves public employee retirement reform. i am the only one who has voted for that. i have also voted for state employee retirement reform. i actually have votes on record. like mr. cox, i have a 41 k -- but 401k. >> you all have health care for life, is that correct? among them is not correct. -- >> that is not correct.
>> one local school district -- it is below will issue -- though definitive issue. the last two governors have played dramatic roles in this. i will you creates excess -- how will you create success in the state's largest, but sadly, most troubled school district? >> i worked for 13 years as a prosecutor. i saw many of the children who graduated from detroit public- school. whether you call the gates foundation, which has a graduation rate as low as 23%, it is an obama-nation. it is an economic and social and moral bill. we have to change that. i am proud to represent robert bob, doing a greatgjob as -- a
great job as efm. we need to take some of the recommendations, including more charter schools. we need alternate teacher decertifications. we need an engineer to be able to teach a great match. -- eighth grade math. when we love to compete. we need to see how every school is doing. >> that as time. congressman. >> local schools, local school districts. the competition between who is running the schools locally, the state, and there was this bill called no child left behind, which took control from local school districts, by passing lansing, to go all the way to washington. we have forgotten about important ingredients in education reform.
it isn't about the system. it is about the kids. they deserve high-quality education. it is their future. the system has failed them. we have forgotten about the most important ingredient -- having a caring adult in their lives. we need to do all that we can to reform public education and create a system that opened the doors into a city like detroit of private and parochial education. >> i like the fact that the city is using robert brock, the former city manager from kalamazoo, to help support its problems. parental choice and involvement is the driver in student performance. giving parents engaged in their children's education is key. -- getting parents engaged in their children's education is key.
i support the expansion of charter schools. we have trouble funding our schools. we have 551 school districts. 21 in oakland county. the layers of local government stem from our territorial days and are no longer affordable. we need major structural reforms to diminished administrative costs and drive more money into classrooms. the best way to do that is by constitutional convention. you'll not get the change you need without that. you can talk about reform, but if you don't change the constitution, it will not happen. >> we faced some of these very same and actually worse problems when i was the chairman of education. we did charter schools and a lot of the things that haven't talked about. it is important. it is abysmal that we of one of the worst graduation rates in america. it is not acceptable.
we're throwing away a generation. our children need the opportunity for a better future. i believe in charter schools, parental choice, and one of my friends once talked about freedom schools where parents could gather together the parents of the school to make changes and take control of the school. who has a more best interest in that? someone who was a bureaucrat in washington, or the parent? i say the parent. it is time to empower parents, students, teachers. >> rebuttal from congressman hoekstra. >> it is great that we're talking about empowering parents. we need to give them the mechanism to do that. i have a proposal of their debt has been expected by republicans and democrats across the country -- out there that has been
accepted by republicans and democrats across the country. people will voluntarily, with an incentive from the state, contribute to public schools or parochial schools. >> that is time. senator george has brought this issue up a number of times. i know you were not wild about a constitutional convention, but it is on the ballot. when it is on the ballot, they typically pass. let's assume that a constitutional convention is coming. what should it address? >> there are a lot of things. the economic climate. the tax code. school funding. social issues. all of those things. if you vote for a constitutional convention, you will create an era of uncertainty in the state of michigan for probably one
year and half with no certainty that a constitutional convention and a new constitution will actually pass. what happens when you have uncertainty? capital stays on the sidelines. businesses who are thinking about investing put off those decisions until they have a clear idea as to where they will be moving in the future. a constitutional convention will put michigan's economic recovery on hold for year-and-a-half at a minimum. there will be all kinds of good ideas talked about. there'll also be bad ideas. >> senator george, the question is yours. >> i disagree. the things that create the most uncertainty is the state going bankrupt. the congressman talked about education tax credits. that is a new expense. those are tax.
it sounds great. attorney general cox has a measure to waive taxes for new graduates from college. i graduated this spring, i will not pay taxes, but i will get a check. it will be great. we'll have $2 billion worth of tax cuts, putting us in the hole for $4 billion. we agree to cut waste. there are millions of dollars there. cut our universities -- $1.4 billion. you are not even halfway there. fiscal insolvency is that threat, not a constitutional convention. >> share of bouchard -- sheriff bouchard. >> i do not believe in a constitutional convention. people have rejected it in the past. it costs about $40 million to
have it. you get a huge document with the big yes or no vote. there could be a lot of bad things were a lot of good things or both. that is why i think we need to put it out in a readable and understandable way to fix one problem at a time. one vote, yes or no. people will know what they're voting for and they do not have to take the hooks with the rest of the fish. he did not know oakland county well enough to know that 14 of those committees contract with police for and with me. we share services. we to overhead in a consolidated manner. they get to make local decisions. of wisdom hastain been broken. >> mike cox. >> thank you. the time and money would be horrible for michigan right now.
we're the second worst in unemployment with hundreds of thousands of people looking for work right now. a constitutional convention would mean $45 million that we don't have. we would waste one year that the next governor needs to get going in order to give you a $2 billion tax cut and $4 billion in the reduction of the size of the state government. i disagree with tom. a taxthe taxpayers get u cut, they do not get a check for the government -- from the government. they keep their own money and spend it as they want. would not need another garage -- we do not need another barrage right now. we have amended the constitution 31 times, including getting rid of racial preference. >> that is time.
this question may be a bit esoteric. what do you suppose is the least popular position that you hold, but you would refuse to give up? >> it was probably voting for the smoke free air precision. the tax credits -- he has two of them in his plan. a tax credit for home renovation -- that is a check from the state, not a tax deduction. the second one is for elder care. look at his plan. tax cuts, more spending, it does not add up. as to consolidation and cooperation -- more power to him. you have 600,000 public employees in michigan. only 55,000 are state employees that the governor contracts with. if you want to decrease the size and scope of government in
michigan and make it more efficient, the governor cannot do it alone. it shift power away from the governor and back to the people where it belongs. the question was about your least popular position. smoking. >> on my website, i talk specifically about something that is unpopular with many. that is to take, in the education process, food, transportation, etc., and bid to share and consolidate services. we could probably save $250 million doing that. it is not public. we need to consolidate at every level. what we're doing now is unsustainable. it needs to be done across this state. as governor, i will drive that. this is not about being popular.
i am willing to be a one-term governor. this is about the children. it is not about getting reelected or being popular. >> mike cox. >> thank you. the most unpopular thing i have proposed is up to $4 billion in government spending cuts. it would allow us to lower the tax rate and keep more jobs here. do you know that we would save $800 million if state employees like myself and school employees just had the average health care? get rid of the defined benefits for all brand new teachers. that is another $250 million. we start to run our prison system like indiana where it costs $10,000 less per inmate and save $600 million. the governor has started an indirect -- and earned income tax credit during the one of -- during one of the worst
recessions that we have had. it has become a three in your $25 million boondoggle. -- $325 billion boondoggle. -- million boondoggle. congressman hoekstra. >> the topic that is the most difficult and the one that people on the street are ready for, but perhaps the political establishment is not -- that is to have a discussion about how we finance case through 12 education -- k through 12 education. parts of it have worked very well in terms of capping tax increases. part of it have not worked well, because our schools are in crisis.
with an education system that is in crisis. -- we have an education system crisis.' in in i want all of our kids to get a great education. you the people will be the ones that make decisions about whether you accept the change or not. >> america has been in the midst of a great debate about health care. mental health care is not discussed. we cover her rent is crimes every week. i am stunned -- we cover horrendous crimes on the news every week. he believes 70% of the inmates in the county jail have some kind of mental illness. our corrections system appears to be our mental health system. the you have a plan to change that, given the lack of dollars? >> that is the way it is and it should not be. i was one of the few, as a
senator, to vote against the closing of the lafayette clinic facility in detroit and the clinton valley facility. we're playing for it in one of the most -- paying for in one of the most cost-incentive -- cost- intensive sessions. we have between eight and 13%- 8% and 13% of my population on psychotropic med. where do we best serve them and our community and our taxpayers? it is not in jail or prison. there are alternatives. they are more cost-effective and more humane, and more efficient on every level. that is what i will do as american and i fought for as senator. >> mike cox. -- that i will do as governor. i fought for it as senator. >> mike cox. >> if you look at the structure across the state, there is a mixed bag of authorities and
agencies. there are 25 or 26 different melt help -- different mental health agencies. why do we not run it like we run the medicare service? we did that out to the private sector -- bid that out to the private sector and do away with some of the agencies in the middle bureaucracy. we get more dollars to the patients that need it and have more transparency. that is my initial idea. i would be open to other ideas from experts in the field. >> as you go around the state, use the parts of the state are dealing with this in creative ways. there is a delivery of social services which is a key function of state government. it does not mean that it has to be done by state government. you going to kent county, where you have a unique collaboration of people coming together to serve the needs of people in the
community who are in need. that may be a model for other parts of the state. it is probably not a single model that works all over. we need to provide the flexibility to local units of government, working in collaboration with the state, to design systems that fully involve the experts in the public and private sectors, and provide the services to people in communities who need them. it is a key issue and one that a lot of people have talked to me about. it needs to be addressed. we need flexibility and creativity to make it work. >> i worked in a psychiatric hospital for two years and sometimes it feels like i still do. [laughter] closing the psychiatric hospitals was not the wrong thing to do. the laws have not been sufficiently updated. i worked with then senator
bernero. i'm not a preparations. i cannot let a couple things go by. we need to privatize, but you will not say to under $50 million. there are tens or maybe hundreds that you can say. when the sheriff says. it to renegotiate government, he says, all of the lead of gm and chrysler. remember, they went bankrupt first and then renegotiated. that is not the path to follow. >> share of bouchard -- sheriff bouchard. >> we have done a number of things specifically. we have a partnership with easter sales and -- easter seals and cma each -- and cmh.
police agencies are looking at adopting these programs. we can do this better, cheaper, more humanely. >> thank you, gentlemen, that brings us to our closing statements. the hour has whizzed by. you have 30 seconds apiece. we will begin with senator george. >> thank you for watching. when you go to vote in three weeks, ask yourself, what does michigan need in its next governor? a career politician, help from washington, another attorney general, or a physician-governor who understands what is missing. personal responsibility. i understand the best way to fix michigan and make structural forms. join my team. we can fix michigan.
>> thank you. >> thank you. to use an anachronism, the prescription for fixing lensing is send a share of the town -- lansing is send the sheriff to town. we have to get michigan back to work. i'm doing for my kids, your kids, the families in this state. i will do whatever i have to do to get it done. i am asking for your help, support, and prairies. join this sheriff's posse. >> try to stay within the time. >> thank you. if you want to fight the hill, get a marine to charge that hill. i am not marine. i learned that leadership matters. i have relearned that and applied that as a homicide prosecutor and as attorney
general. i have stood up for you when it mattered. folks who understand leaders are on board with me. the michigan right to life, the chamber of commerce, job creators. >> time. >> michigan has suffered under a deficit of leadership. this is about electing a leader who understands that you have to check behind to make sure there are people following. those are the people that you work for. you serve those people. you are accountable to them. you have to leave those people with integrity and character. this election is all about leadership and doing the right things, and powering the people. >> gentlemen, thank you all for this evening.
it has been a fascinating conversation. thank you to the people at home and the people who sent in questions. we're so glad you were with us. our thanks to this university. our conversation will continue over on the webcast. we will look closely at these issues. a couple of these candidates, maybe all of them, will make their way out to those weathercast cameras. -- webcast cameras. we're doing everything we can to help you be equipped as you can be as you head into the voting booth. that is three weeks from tonight. we have some undecided voters. we will have their reflections coming up tomorrow morning. make sure everybody was minding their peace and used -- p's and
q's. a round of applause. see you later. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> the election takes place august 3. the general election is rated as "republican-leaning." now, a tennesse governors' debate where we will hear from the democratic candidate, and from republican candidates. they're seeking to replace phil bredesen. this event is about one hour. >> live from belmont university in national -- nashville, this
>> and wherever you are in tennessee, we want you to connect with us as well on facebook. here is a look at the page. it is the statewide debate. you can submit questions for the candidates or just share your comments. the facebook page is the statewide debate. >> the order on stage were selected by random drawing. not go near bill husted. businessman mike the quarter, lieutenant governor run ramsey. tonight's format is a little different. we have a combination of questions from the moderators. videotape questions from voters around tennessee as well as questions from you via facebook.
we will also have one or more chances for candidates to ask questions of each other. each candidate is going to have 30 seconds to answer each question. we will be keeping time on a clock in front of the stage and we have a backup system in case that clock should fail. when time is up, you will hear the sound. that bill means that time is up. we will have closing statements as well at the end of this program for all of the candidates to answer some questions and then close their statements out. the first questions will be coming from us. i think you have the first question. >> gentleman, all candidates talk about fiscal responsibility and reducing spending. name one specific program you know that you will target to reduce spending. . >> let me say thank you to everyone here and the viewers
ross the strait. especially to the tennessean is that are standing in harm's way on our behalf and i hope that they have a chance to vote as well. instead of in individual program, i think we are all one to have to tighten our belts. we have to pull down and get through this downturn. i think we are going to all have to reduce spending 3% or 4% starting next january. >> mr. haslam? >> a specific program we can do better is looking at how we do purchasing to read we spend $28 billion in tennessee and other states have done purchasing reform and have saved hundreds of millions of dollars. that is a great place for us to start. >> mr. mcherter. i think he has done a good job
controlling our budget. i would not want to identify one specific thing that i would say that i would cut at this time. what i would want to say is i want to focus on job creation. if you get people back to work, we will have the revenue to run this state. >> mr. ramsey? >> it is obvious that i am the only one that has a plan. we're going to have to make of specific cuts. i want to look at what other states have done. we need to take the politics out of the appointments and job hiring, but also save money. we need to use the health department to provide primary care for our recipients. i have a lot of plants. i am one to be a governor that will jump at the bit to get there. >> power stations and their camera crews across the state to record questions from voters in
all of the grand divisions. audience, you can watch on the big screen. candidates, look at the tv monitor to your right. >> our first voter question comes from right here in nashville. >> the united states is a union of immigrants. but i would like to know is during your term as governor, do you foresee tennessee taking a similar stance on immigration as arizona? >> we are a nation of immigrants. as mayor, i go to naturalization ceremonies all the time were you see people coming in illegally. illegal immigration is where the government has not done their job and the states are paying the price for that. arizona is reacting because they see so much of it. in tennessee, we need to do the same thing. i propose to cut off the job source and it will turn and go home. >> i think that illegal
immigration is the responsibility of the federal government. if we can secure the borders between north korea and south korea, we can secure our borders in our home country. i want to encourage the federal government to do that. i think that it is unfortunate that arizona had to pass that law. what i think is even more unfortunate is that the government is suing them over that. i want to make sure the federal government is doing their job, not trying to sue our individual states. >> mr. rancid? >> you are going to see some real differences here tonight. i am proud of gov. jim brewer and when i am governor, i would enact a law just like that. we are a nation of legal immigrants. the federal government is failing us and that is another area where the federal
government is failing us. we can pass strong laws and test the citizenship of every person arrested in the state of tennessee. >> legal immigration has made our nation great and strong, but illegal immigration is a rule of law issue. the word illegal, we cannot get around that. arizona has done the right thing. if the federal government will not enforce immigration laws, the state government should have the right to do it. in the course of doing law enforcement, and they find somebody that is here illegally, they can remove them. i would do the same thing. >> let's go to the auditorium. that is where bob sellers is. >> amanda, which you tell us a little bit about yourself. >> i am originally from knoxville, tennessee. now i live in nashville.
>> what is your question? >> how would you drive innovation in public education around the state and what is your plan to move to tennessee from #42 to the top tended >> we will start with mr. mcwherter. >> i will be broke quick. i think that we need to keep a focus on prekindergarten. i think early childhood development is something that we need to focus on i applaud -- to focus on. as the next governor, i will be the next person to implement that program and i think it is terribly important that this goes with all the people in tennessee. >> i am not for universal prepaid. i think it takes money away from classes. we have to start thinking outside the box. what can we do best to use taxpayer dollars the best way.
there are three classrooms and the students rotate between the classrooms. it's a is a tremendous amount of money and provides a good education. that is exactly what we will have to do to provide the best bang for the buck of taxpayer dollars. >> my 20/20 vision includes a specific early childhood reading initiative where we benchmark every child to see if they are meeting basic reading in basic math skills. if they are not, we will intervene. it is called corrective action to we will give them tools like phonics. good third grade readers are productive citizens. if you are not reading well by third grade, you're likely to drop out of high school. >> first, we need to raise standards.
the higher standards, the better the results. every institution has a great leader. focus on those to make sure they are well-trained and well selected. at the end of the day, all of us have had teachers that may all of the difference in the world to us. we need to use that to help parents and teachers know when to intervene. >> the viewers are taking our advice and posting questions on facebook. first, a question from a viewer in the chattanooga market. >> i am a brick mason. i really have a question for the candidates. i would like to know why we cannot either cut or reduce the sales tax on food for low-income people. >> let me assure you that for
several years, i have fought in income tax here in the state of tennessee. we are a sales tax base state. there are certain taxes we can't cut here in tennessee. this is a great place to live but a terrible place to die. we need to make sure that we ratchet down the income tax. we should ratchet that down to get a solid sales base and increase revenue by lowering these taxes. >> mr. -- mr. wamp? >> we should look at this only when the economy improves. right now, we need to reform the way state government does business and hold the line on spending. we cannot reduce things like this right now, but it will be one of the things that the legislator -- the legislature
should consider with me. . building things to help grow and expand our economy, we have a problem in tennessee. we are $1.5 billion upside down. this is due to the removal of stimulus plan money. as much as we would like to talk about removing the sales tax, i do not think that we can do that until the economy turns around. >> here is where there is a real distinction between the democrat running in this race and the republicans. there is no question about my priority to my plan. my second priority is going to be about reducing the sales tax on groceries.
if there is revenue to reduce tax on the state, that is great. our next round of questions should be pretty interesting. each engine and will ask a question of their choosing to one fellow and it. >> please let your questions to 15 seconds. >> i will ask mayor mr. haslam a question. when al gore first ran for president, you chose to give money to his campaign and now you say you are a conservative candidate for governor for tennessee to a little white was it worth your resources? >> i have an incredible track
record over a long period of years in a lot of candidates that are strong conservatives that have helped move our state forward. >> i will return the favor. just two weeks ago, you said that you would not run negative ads on tv, but you found a commercial attacking me. why are you saying one thing and doing another? >> i did not say anything at all about what i would do. i said that i have precious resources and it was a limit on how to spend those precious resources. there is so much propaganda with all of your money about creating a person that is not mr. haslam. i will stand on the truth because it is time to stand on the truth.
you are not the guy that all of your money says that you more. -- that you more. >> zak, maymr. haslam raised taxes. i think that is outrageous. i want to know what you think about it. >> i appreciate that. the higher you are on the flagpole, the harder the wind blows. here is what i will say about all of this. he is the only one who chose not to turn over his tax returns for information. you did it because you said that your dad was governor. this is a problem for tennessee. we need full disclosure and transparency, especially in our government. >> i think i should have the
chance to answer a question that was really asked of me. >> i want to talk about disclosure because i have disclosed everything that is required. i have actually disclosed more than anyone on this stage has. everybody knows exactly what i own. there is no secret where my income comes from. i want to be real clear about that. >> mr. ramsey, ask your question. >> mr. haslam decided to join mayor bloomberg of mayors against guns. last march, he joined in our re. i want to know what changed your views on guns in the last year. >> that was a long 15 seconds.
>>i promise you that i will protect your second amendment rights. i joined a group focused on doing that. i am telling you face-to-face that i will protect your second amendment rights. >> thank you. >> we are coming to you live from the belmont university campus and we are debating the issues tonight. questions are coming from all across the state. >> here are some other groups that have gathered to watch tonight's exchange. the university of memphis campus and tennessee state university campus in johnson city. you have still got time to
submit a question. let's go back to our town hall group. >> a thank you, very much. i am talking to tracy. she is a small business owner. could you tell us what your question is? >> my question is that the federal government has offered temporary tax breaks to small businesses in an effort to encourage employment in the current economic times. what is your plan on the state level to aid small businesses for the creation of jobs? fo>> mr. haslam? >> in the state, we have the same issue. we are $1.5 billion under water. small businesses are were jobs are created. about two-thirds of the new jobs in our state are created by
small business. i do not think when we are $1.5 billion under water that we can start a new program. >> mr. mcwherter? >> there is no question in my mind that we do tax credits for large corporations whenever we bring them in here. we can have a similar program for small business in this state. i am the only candidate that has been advocating for that because we know that that is a proven model and that it will generate revenue. it puts people to work and they become consumers and the program pays for itself. that is something that only a small businessman can understand. >> mr. ramsey? >> i am the only one on the stage that has started two and businesses from scratch. i have been second to none on
business issues because the way we get out of this environment that we are in is to grow a little bit. i figured out that they will get my way, i will create the jobs. >> we need clear leadership of the economy. we have a lot of advantages as a state. as i travel all 95 counties, small business is where the action is. i helped bring volkswagen to tennessee, but they will be hard to find financing. rural economic development is needed today outside of our major cities. >> we will have another town hall question, here. >> whitney, will you stand up please? >> i have been in tennessee
since 2000. i work in the banking industry and marketing. >> what is your question? what's my question is, do you believe in intelligent design or evolution being talked in public schools? what's i think there is a place for talking about evolution in our schools. there is no question about that. the bottom line is that i much prefer a more traditional curriculum for our school students, especially at a very early age. we can blend of science and religion in that regard, and the to do not have to contradict each other. as long as we are responsible with it, we can give our students what they need to progress. >> i know that i was created by god. i understand that.
that is what i want my children to learn. there may be a place for evolution in schools as well, but we need to tell both sides of this. god created us and the universe and god created everything we see, no and do. -- know and do. >> my world view is that man is not the center of the universe, god is. we are made by him to serve him and to serve each other. i believe that it should be family policy and government policy. if there is we to be teaching of evolution in the schools, it should be alongside got it centered education. we have the bible in our schools. >> i believe in an intelligent
designer and i think that we are created in the image of god. i also am not afraid of science being taught in school. i want to get the kind of feedback that we are getting at home. that does not scare me at all. >> gentleman, thank you. >> i am happy to report that we have dozens of comments on facebook. they are encouraging you to be real. that is what we are hearing tonight. we have a question from angela johnson. >> the question is, what is your stance on green power development and protecting the environment? >> mr. ramsey, we will start with you. >> we are leading the way in biofuels. at the same time, we have 200
years worth of coal in the ground and we have other natural products in the ground. we need science and emotion. we need this energy for -- that god gave us to use so that we do not buy energy from countries that want to kill us. >> yes, mr. wamp. >> for two years, i helped write the energy policy act of 2005 on the energy renewal policy. this is an opportunity for money. this is a great opportunity for us in manufacturing of new energy technology to help the world. we do it out of tennessee. this is a great opportunity. we can create the strongest economy in america and help the country. >> we have a great head start in tennessee.
we are building down in bradley county and hemlock down in clarksville. we also have a research project. those solar projects are wonderful. eventually, we have to crack the nut of making solar market competitive. we have a chance to do that. if they do that, tenn. can be a real leader, not just in the production of solar power. but also the research. >> unlike mr. ramsey, i will be very real about this. i am totally against mountain top mining. i am delighted to know that the governor has led the way. tennessee is one of three states in this country. we have got to keep the focus on that. weekend built on a volkswagen
being here and that will be my direction. >> back to the questions recorded on video. >> our next voter question comes from the heart of west tennessee, memphis. what's the regional medical center is critical. what would you, as the next governor, do to make sure that short-term and long-term by militants of the med? >> i lost a campaign a few months ago -- i launched a campaign a few months ago that memphis matters. so it goes, so do we. there is more potential in memphis tennessee that anywhere in the entire south the spirit we have to embrace memphis. i want the entire legislature to go with me and look at the medical centers.
i am the only one of your that signed a pledge to fully fund the met. it matters. sodas' memphis. >> the will matter is not just meant the spirit is a trauma center and a burn center. it matters to the whole state. if you train that you to medical school, there is a good chance they did their training right there. i visited with their management team and got their perspective on what we need to do. it is hard to make this be competitive with current facilities. that is going to be the issue we have to address. it is hard to operate efficiently in an incredibly inefficient building. >> as most people know, i am from west tennessee, and i grew up watching how this progress over the years. the president of the united states comes to tennessee and the maed is where he is taken to
have something happens to him. it is a regional hospital. it gets patients from mississippi. its patients from arkansas. we need to make sure they get the proper medicaid and medicare dollars back into support that institution. >> it doesn't surprise me that he signed that pledge. he has a history of spending money that we do not have. he never saw a spending bill that he did not like. it is a huge issue in memphis, tennessee. memphis does matter. one out of 10 people live in shelby county. it is the largest medicare provider in mississippi and arkansas. that is a problem that we need to work on. >> thank you, gentlemen. our next question is coming from the moderator.
recent proposals to build new mosques have been controversial. is there were an obligation to build a mosque in your neighborhood, how would you respond? >> there is nothing more important in america that our state. as it is what defines us and it is sometimes what divides us. that is an issue that is a local zoning issue. i have seen this as mayor, but there are local land use issues. >> mr. mcwherter? >> the first amendment, freedom of religion, there is a reason that our forefathers adopted that into our constitution. having said that, i truly understand the concerns of some of these neighborhoods about bringing these kinds of institutions in. he just cannot drop these into the middle of a very quiet
neighborhood and expect the same client -- the same kind of quality of life. as long as developers will put them in places where they can work with the neighborhood, i would be supportive. >> obviously, our funding fathers were brilliant. there was divine intervention in that room when they wrote the constitution and the bill of rights. we have freedom of religion and freedom to assemble. i think we need to remember those when we approach this problem. this is a zoning issue. it is my understanding that this was approved in 17 days, and it makes you wonder how much review they really gave. it is a local issue. i do not like the government influencing us. >> we are respectful of all religions. we do have a judeo-christian foundation.
i have read many books. after september 11, i became a student of this particular problem and i would ask 1st how you feel about sharia law, because we do not want that in this country. we do not want to allow that to fester or grow in this country, but we respect all religious views. it i think that the other men are right. we have to be careful with this issue, but sharia law cannot spread in america. >> we want to take another look at our for reaching audience tonight. groups have gathered on the campus of the university of memphis and east tennessee university. >> if you have an issue that has not been addressed tonight, let us know. post your question on facebook. the page is the statewide debate. >>the canada is now to question
one another. >> each candidate chooses a canada and poses a question of their own choosing and the question can last 15 seconds and the answer no longer than 30 seconds. >> bill, i will address it to you, this time. i am interested in to corporations. i heard that you did not want to disclose this because of family privacy unions -- privacy issues. what are you hiding? >> i am not hiding anything. i have disclosed more than the law requires and everybody knows what i own, there is no secret. the leader of your party said that that was manly politics and that when your own dad was governor and he set up a blind trust, he wanted it to be a venetian blind trust because he might want to peak at it now and
then. >> mr. ramsey, choose your candid and pose your question. >> sack, you were one of seven congressmen have voted for tart and spent more than $400 billion. >> i was not one of seven, so your facts are all the wrong. i voted against every bailout, ever stimulus, all the bad legislation, except the second tarp vote. like senator alexander and others, we were at the cliff and i became very concerned that people i represent would not be able to get their own money out of the bank's the next morning. we were at the cliff. we had no choice at that moment on the second time. >> i will ask the mayor another
question. in your campaign material, you say that you are remarkable business leader, even though your your brother ran pilot and your dad ran pilot, and you left and went with another company. that is not underestimate. you lost $35 million. why is it not part of what you say is responsible business? f>> we were starting an internet retail business and taken vantage of the saks fifth avenue name and we hired a management team to come up with a business plan that was profitable. that business team that i hired, most of it is still there and it is recognized throughout the internet retail world as a great team. that team is very successful.
i am proud of what we did there. >> mr. mr. haslam, take a breath and ask your question. >> i have heard you talk about expanding three k, but we all know that we are $1.5 billion in bohol. what taxes will you raise to pay for these new programs? >> bill, what i talked about is that i think that we need to be working towards a solution, not trying to sue the federal government over this issue any more than the federal government should be suing the state of arizona over an immigration issue. we can work with our congressional delegation and i do not agree and i am not fine with the administration's bill as it is right now, but i feel that we can work with our congressional delegation to make sure that this is a deal that will help tennessee but not burden our tennessee taxpayers. >> canada's, thank you very much. from memphis to the tri-cities
and points in between, we are coming to you live from the center at the campus of belmont university. we have a studio audience and a web audience tonight. we are in johnson city at eastern tennessee state. thank you for being with us tonight. wave at us. there might be some delay there. now we have more questions. >> i am a firefighter and the question i pose is this. are you for or against collective bargaining which would allow us to negotiate directly with our employer it over issues and if you are against it, why? >> mr. ramsey, we will begin with you. >> i have been opposed of collective bargaining for public
employees for years to read my daughter just married a firefighter. i understand the plight of firefighters, but we have looked to what is going on in cities around this nation and states around this nation that have allowed public employees to unionize, allow public employees to have collective bargaining and it breaks the bank. we have seen states like california go under because of the collective bargaining that public employees have had. >> mr. wamp? >> i have worked for firefighters in my public service. firefighters deserve everything that we can possibly do. this bill was offered by jimmy duncan of knoxville, a conservative republican. after a critical review, i took my name off of it because of exactly what ron said. we cannot force this on to the fire department or local government. we have more collective bargaining then we can have. we are a right to work state.
new capital investment are coming to tennessee. >> as mayor, i love working with our fire department. the russian to buildings with other people are running out. we cannot force collective bargaining. every mayor that i know is against this. i am glad to say that you are against it. we are facing pressures and to have washington tell us that we have to recognize unions is wrong. >> scott, i appreciate that question very much. i would agree on this general principle. i am not a person who is going to go out and it endorsed collective bargaining for city employees, however, i will understand the memorandum of understanding and what we need to do to put city employees first. i want to make sure that that memorandum is understood and can
be enforced on both sides, both on the city and for the people that are working for the city. >> it is time to revisit our town hall participant. >> mr. wamp this will be for you. i know that you are a vietnam veteran. >> my question is, there were tennessee state mercy comes for veterans -- nursing homes for veterans. they are -- there are currently two homes waiting to be built.
would you endorse this? >> i and the ranking member of the subcommittee in washington and it is the highest honor i have had in my professional life. general day and would is here tonight in support of me. we owe our veterans everything. i will do everything in my power to get these homes built as quick as i can, given the budget constraints. i know more about this issue for veterans than anyone on the stage probably will in their lifetime. >> but you come a sergeant major. we had one built in our county several years ago and i think it was the most recent one bill. it was a long process and involve federal money in state money and finally some local money as well. we have to do something. there is a long waiting list. i have friends whose parents are on waiting lists. the state should work with them. with local government and with
federal government, they need to make it happen. >> that is the longest title i have ever heard of anybody that is a committee chairman. i was in jack's borrow. i have a gentleman call into a radio talk-show and really and for me about many of the issues that veterans are facing that we really have to address. as funding becomes available, i will become 100 percent behind that. i will be behind it even before funding becomes available because we owe that to our veterans. >> thank you for your service. i took my father to a nursing home in johnson city, tenn. on august 28. my father passed away in the johnson city nursing home for veterans. i saw firsthand and i will
commit to build those homes. it should be our number one priority to take care of those citizens that sacrificed so much so that we could be here tonight. >> after more than 40 years without an execution, there have been six in the state of tennessee since the start of this millennium. the state is set to execute a woman on september 28. under what circumstances would you commute a death sentence and would you consider commuting gail owens' execution? i will not comment on gail owens because i've been not think it is -- i do not think that it is appropriate. the only exception would be new information that comes to light that would drastically change a
jury's decision. it is my program to follow what the jury recommends. >> mr. wmr. mcwherter? >> i started out my career as a lawyer. i fought in front of the supreme court. i saw firsthand just how the process works when you go through a death penalty case. there is a tremendous of vetting process. if there is new evidence that comes to light, the governor should intervene, but otherwise we should enforce the law. >> i am in favor of the death penalty and i think it is a deterrent to crime. the process has been played out through the jury system and it takes years. i cannot understand anyway why we would commute the death sentence if it went through that process. i sponsored a bill in the state legislature a few years ago that
was revolutionary that required us to take dna from convicted felons for the first time in our state. sometimes and dna convicts people, but the dna proves innocence at times, too. i think there it would be less and less likely that we execute the wrong person. >> let me say that i will defend all innocent life from conception through their natural live with every ounce of my energy as long as i'm governor of tennessee. this is the toughest thing that i think the governor can do, but there has to be a range of deterrence all the way to capital punishment. the only way that the governor should not carry out his constitutional obligation based on the death penalty is if there is new dna related type evidence, compelling evidence to not go forward. >> we have another panel question. mr. mcwherter, he will take this
first it what did you learn from the recent flood that we have and what would you do to protect homes, businesses and infrastructure from the next flood? >> i was out putting sandbags to levy against the cumberland river. i learned that i used muscles that i that i have not used in a long time girded we have incredible -- in a long time. we have incredible leadership. we have to make sure that we do not allow developers to continue to put homes in areas that are flood prone land. they lose everything in that regard. >> i learned what a great state we live in, the great state of tennessee. we are called the volunteer state. that goes back to the day that we volunteered for the army, but you did not hear anyone in or complaining.
-- any wining or complaining. i am proud of what happened. we need to look about building in flood zones. i learned how talented, how resilience, how hard working tennessean are. >> i did not learn that, already knew that. tennessee is an extraordinary group of people. i heard from fema that they had never seen anywhere in this entire nation what they saw in terms of people taking care of people. it is extraordinary what we saw. that is what tennessee is. that is why i cannot wait to serve the state as the 49th governor. there were a lot of people caught up not having a flood insurance because they were nowhere near a flood plain. we need to reach calibrate that whole equation in tennessee. -- we need to recalibrate the whole equation in tennessee.
>> i went to perry county two weeks after the flood and sought a peaceful stream that was a raging river and literally took a home down the river and killed a father and his daughter. in millington, a flotilla of bass boats gathered in a gas station parking lot to go out to neighborhoods and bring people into rid of that is the kind of response i saw. folks were being readied to get deployed and were showing up to help. >> our camera crews have been busy gathering questions around tennessee. here is something on the mind of a gentleman. if you can keep the answers to 15 seconds, we want to try to compress and get as many questions as we can. >> i would like to know why the gulf spill -- what would you do
in your first six months to increase tourism for the state of tennessee from memphis to the smoky mountains? >> i live about 2 miles from there and i will encourage the local industry to join with the state of tennessee as we have for many years and, what to make sure we are advertising the state of tennessee properly. the tourist attractions are there but we encourage local governments to join with those businesses in advertising. >> the tennessee department of economic and community development needs to spread the incentives for investments around the small businesses to answer your question, and the tourism industry. we are losing in motion pictures because we do not incentivize film production in tennessee. >> of the gulf spill is a tragedy that the world will be suffering from for a long time. in tennessee, we need to extend the stay of our tourists that
come here. when they come to see the grand ole opry, it is a great time to see the smoky mountains. >> for every dollar invested in tourism in tennessee, it returns approximately $7. you do not have to be a genius to figure out that supporting the tourism industry in this state returns revenue to our state and helps us move forward. >> we have reserved some time at the end of to reexamine some of the answers and perhaps give the candidates a chance to expand or clarify their positions. >> mr. ramsey, we will start with you. if you support arizonas erasion law, how would you pay for the inevitable legal battle involved? >> son things are worth fighting for. we have an illegal immigration problem and it is worth fighting for. i encourage people to look at what arizona is actually doing.
do not listen to the rhetoric, look at what they are actually doing. they ask the federal government to come down and enforce the law. the federal government has failed us. when they did not, they said they would enforce law and now the obama administration is suing the state of arizona. just when you thought that washington could not get any crazier, it did. >> mr. wamp, do you believe you mr. haslam is disingenuous? >> a lot of money is being spent, here. it will probably be $15 million in this primary. will a billionaire family tried to buy the government of tennessee? he has not been transparent. he has not been fully disclosed. he has refused. no one has refused. if wall street is too big to
fail, in tennessee, are you too big to live under the same rules as anybody else in regards to turn away? >> can you give us an idea why you are not telling everything? >> the only people that bring this up or politicians. i have spent time in every county, knocking on doors. i have spoken with over four or 500 -- over 400 or 500 groups. the people that asked about this are asking from a political standpoint. everyone understands my political campaign. more people have given to our campaign and they have given to any campaign in the history of tennessee. i think at that says volumes about the support that we have. >> mr. mcwherter, what needs to be done to make this place a better place to live and work? >> tough question. we have to get people back to
work. i have talked about two things about how to do that. i believe we have a great foundation. we have to go out and target the associated industries and spread jobs all over tennessee. the second thing i talked about is having tax breaks and tax incentives for businesses all across the state that are creating jobs. if we can get people back to work, we have consumers and revenue and we can move the state forward. that is what i will do. >> it is time for each of our candidates to give a summary statement in closing. the order of the statement was determined by a drawing. we begin with mr. ramsey. >> thank you. you have a tough decision to make. when you make that decision, analyze the candidates. we do not need washington ways here in nashville. mr. haslam is trying to buy the race by spending a lot of money.
what we need in the state of tennessee is good common-sense conservative leadership. gun owners of america have endorsed me. the tea party groups understand that i am the only one that knows that this country isn't a heck of a shed and it will be up to governors to push back on a washington d.c. that has gone absolutely crazy. i was named the tennessee right- to-life legislator of the year. i would appreciate your support, your prayers, and your vote. the key for having us here tonight. >> mr. mcwherter? >> first, i want to thank channel 4 and belmont for hosting this event today. i am a businessman. i am not a career politician. i am the one candidate in this race that has grown a business,
met a payroll, built a budget from scratch and live within it. everybody up here wants to talk about jobs. i have actually created jobs. i know what it takes to create more jobs. i am the one candidate in this race that has been talking about the fact that we need to have tax incentives and tax breaks for businesses in this state that are creating jobs. as i have travelled across this state, i have had a chance to work alongside some of the hardest working people in tennessee. i pulled plywood, i've bused tables, i have work on assembly lines. in tennessee, we have the work ethic. we have the values. now, we need the jobs. as governor, my priority is for me to put tennessean back to work. >> mr. wamp? >> the holy scripture says that where there is no vision, people perish. i have been in politics long enough to see that the problem
is that in politics there is very little vision. tennessee needs a vision for the future. how do we create a dynamic state? it is on my website. this is a 20/20 vision to create a strong economy and improve education with an early childhood reading initiative, to become a preventive health model state. we are almost dead last in health care and we have to change the culture of the next generation. all the while, we need to claim state sovereignty because the federal government is raining down on us to protect our way of life. we need to make tennessee a better and stronger state. in many ways, we have to protect our own faith and values as well. this is like david vs. goliath with all this money. there are spending their own money, now. i have great faith in the people of tennessee. i have great faith in god that he has already decided who will be governor.
>> i want to thank you all for doing this tonight. i want to thank the people of tennessee. my wife and i have travelled across the state. you have welcomed us into your homes and introduced us to your friends and many of you have financially supported our campaign. he shared with us your struggles in your hopes for your children. democracy is a long and hard process, but the result is that it makes you a better leader when you're elected to office. if you will let me, i promise you two things. we will be faithful stores of your tax dollars. i will use every bit of experience and expertise and energy that i have to bring jobs to tennessee. we can be the best location in the southeast. we will have reform in education. we cannot have thousands of children drop out in tennessee. i will work hard for values that make tennessee such a special place for all of us to live. it has been a log 18 months, but it has been a good one. i am asking you for your vote.
early voting starts in four days. >> who will be with us on october 11 for second debate. >> everybody? what's everybody. >> have a good night, thank you, tennessee. ho[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> the cook political report rates this race and says that it leans republican. >> tomorrow, senator john corn and. he chairs the national republican senatorial committee and talks to us about the gop strategy for winning more seats
in the 2010 campaign. the committee is likely to provide over $4 million for republican candidates. our interview, tomorrow at 8 -- at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> c-span is now available in over 100 million homes, bringing you a direct link to public affairs, politics, history and nonfiction books, all as a public service. created by american cable companies. >> next, democrats debate for rhode island's house seat to replace patrick kennedy, who is not running for reelection. this event took place at the performing arts center and providence, rhode island. it is posted by wpri-tv.
>> the following program is a special presentation by eyewitness news. >> eyewitness news brings you live coverage of now, a campaign 2010 debate, u.s. house district 1, democrats. they face off in a prime-time debate, live, right now, all wpri 12 and wpri.com. >> this is the first live televised debate four democrats in the 1st congressional district. each of these men is hoping to succeed rep patrick kennedy in washington and for each one, it is his first run for u.s. congress. tonight, we will be talking about some very important issues that affect all families in the state of rhode island. first, we want to thank all the candidates for participating in tonight's debate and we want to remind you that this is live on wpri-12 and it is also live on
our web sites wpri.com. after a televised portion, the debate will continue on wpri.com with even more questions, including those submitted by eyewitness news viewers. be sure to log on to that beginning at 8:00 p.m.. we begin with opening remarks for each of the canvas. the order was determined by a growing. up first is mr. gemma. he is the founder of a marketing firm. this is mr. gemma's first run for office. >> thank you very much. i want to thank channel 12 for hosting this event this evening. i want to thank patrick kennedy for his years of service for the people of rhode island. i want to thank you, the viewers, for taking time out of your schedule to hear what we have to say this evening. . .
my name is david segal. i'm running because the people of ryland want and deserve the congress member who will stand up a powerful interest and when real victories for families. we need washington to do more to address our serious challenges. the big corporations, big banks, big insurance companies have far too much power and influence. the hard-working families in our communities have too little. i want to be a voice for those working families. as a providence city council member and now as this decrepit the -- the state rep, i have stood up to loans that were making predatory loans and for closing in homes and our neighborhood. i have stood up against developers who took millions of dollars and refused to hire residents to work on their projects. i pushed back against national grid to bring grain jobs and renewable energy to rhode island for the first time.
i worked to reform political corruption in campaign finance. -- and campaign finance. that is why i am asking for your vote. >> thank you. david cicilline has been the mayor of providence since 2002. he served four terms as a state representative. before being in politics, he was an attorney in criminal defense and civil rights. your opening remarks. >> thank you for organizing this debate. our state is facing some enormous challenges, as is our country. --re worried about future the future, the ability to support themselves, paying bills. rhode island has the fourth highest unemployment rate in the country. we see oil gushing into our oceans in the gulf. parents are disappointed when their children have to leave for
thailand to find work. it cannot watch their grandchildren grow up here. i want to -- have to leave ryland to find work. they cannot watch their grandchildren grow up here. i know what works and what does not. i know how to get things done. we need leadership which will fight for working families, putting them first, and deliver rhode island. i will work hard every single day for the families of our state. >> thank you. >> and now, bill lynch. he is former chairman of the state democratic party. he served as the city councilor for six years. your opening remarks. >> thank you to all of you for being here tonight. most of all, thank you to the
people at home who have taken the time to watch us tonight. it is pretty obvious to most everybody here in rhode island that washington does not work for working people. our friends, families, and neighbors are out of work, out of hope, and out of patience with washington. i am running for congress to do what i have done my whole life here in rhode island -- fight for our families. i announced my support for term limits for members of congress yesterday. if elected, i pledge to you that i would only serve 12 years in the congress. we need to change washington from the bottom up with significant and real change. term limits will do that. washington is broken. it is time to make profound changes. there is no time to waste. too many politicians are looking out for themselves. tonight, i look forward to talking about fixing those
problems. i respectfully ask for support and your vote in september. thank you. >> we actually have another debate scheduled before the general election. each of the candidates has agreed to appear on that debate, should they win the democratic primary in september. let's start on the issues that are vital to families in rhode island. . >> thank you. good evening. it is safe to say many voters know little about each of you. we hope to change that. there is no strict format to this debate. however, we want to cover a lot of ground. if i feel you are going to -- and not answering the question, i will jump in. mr. lynch, it being your birthday, might give to you is the first question. -- my gift to you is the first
question. >> i told my wife we were going out for my birthday. i do not think this is what she had in mind your >> the economic recovery -- in mind. >> the economic recovery has been slow to take hold. the last thing many people here want to see is more taxes. in 2011, the bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire. which of those tax cuts would you allowed to expire? >> as a country, the last thing we can do is tax our way out of this economic crisis. as someone who has run all law office for almost 25 years now and represented many small businesses, and here every day that they are taxed to the hilt. there is no more money to pay. as a priority, we need to, in order to ensure and grow jobs here, reduce the tax pressure on
these businesses. one way to do that is to look at the bush tax cuts -- the consequence of the bush tax cuts. they saved the wealthiest, to the detriment of the middle class. >> if at all possible, we need to look at protecting and preserving the middle class families in ryland -- rhode island. >> according to the congressional budget office, the bush tax cuts only favored 25% of the rich -- those households over $250,000. what about the death tax, the marriage tax, low-income families who will see their income tax rate jumped five percentage points? >> we have to address these issues in a way that benefits average, hard-working families, not the wealthiest among us.
if there has to be a decision made as to who has to pay more, frankly, i think it has to fall more on those that have done better and continue to make enormous amounts of money. >> mr. gemma, which of the bush tax cuts should go? >> we are facing a $1.4 million deficit in -- $1.40 trillion deficit in our country. the real problem is about creating jobs. we're working on creating a jobs plan to bring real jobs to the people of our state and our nation. we want to lessen the burden and the pressure. i do believe that the middle class is the one that is really suffering. we have to help them. >> you started that answer by
citing the deficit. are you saying that the bush tax cuts are taking a heavy hand in the deaths at? >> the real issue with the books-cuts -- the bush tax cuts is that they probably need to be repealed. >> all of them? even the child tax credit, the marriage tax, the death tax? >> all of them. $1.4 facing a deficit of million -- hard decisions will need to be made. i believe the tax cuts should be allowed to expire. >> according to the government site, $266 million in stimulus money has been spent on grants, loans, and contracts in rhode island, in the first congressional district alone, which netted about 213 jobs. are you ok with those numbers?
>> that number is a wall full return on investment. -- a wall full -- woeful return on investment. we need to keep businesses moving. we need to visit the state future commerce and tax revenues. -- we need to facilitate future commerce and tax revenues. as a state representative, it has been apparent to me that rhode island would have been suffering much more without the stimulus. there would of been further cuts to schools, municipalities , and increases in property taxes. >> would you support a second stimulus? >> i would support the stimulus that focuses on jobs, infrastructure, green jobs, in
for structure that helps facilitate commerce down the line, and kickstart our economy in the long term. >> he is looking for a bigger stimulus. >> this is the example -- an example where the perspective of a mayor would have been very beneficial. we argued for real investment in infrastructure. rebuild bridges, roads, water systems, technology. get people working right away to create a national infrastructure bank with a public-private partnership. we have over 300 structurally- deficient bridges in the first district alone. we need to invest in infrastructure. it helps create a plaque for rick -- platform for rebuilding the economy. only a small portion of the recovery package went to infrastructure. it was not a failure, but we
have not seen the kind of job creation that we should have. most of it went to this day. we have unfortunate and aggressive. we competed for grants. we brought tens of millions of dollars into our state. we were competitive. we examined every opportunity. we created jobs. if there is going to be additional investment, it has to be targeted and very smart. >> you are talking about additional investment. >> one answer is raising the retirement age. do you support that? >> no. i think there are ways to generate revenue without raising the retirement age. >> what are those ways?
among you continue to make the right investments that will rebuild our economy. invest in our manufacturing. understand that manufacturing in the first district is the backbone of our economy. many generations of families made a good living in manufacturing. we need to have a national manufacturing policy, trade policies to allow us to compete globally, tax policies to support american businesses. we need to make things again. we need to rebuild our economy. we need to understand that budgets are about setting the right priorities. we have sufficient resources to do the things we need to do. i believe it is time to bring our troops home from afghanistan. >> i do not want to get off subject. the cost of entitlements an entitlement programs have been going through the roof. is this not an area you would look at?
>> you have to look at everything. you asked if i would support raising the retirement age. i was at a boat building facility a few days ago. it is hard work. at the time that they are ready to retire, they ought to be ready to retire. we should keep our commitment. we created the social security trust fund in anticipation of the baby boom. what is happening now is exactly what was predicted. we need to understand that we made a commitment to the american people and we need to keep that commitment. >> you have said everything is on the table for you. you would not rule out some sort of privatisation. can you clarify? >> we should prioritize -- not prioritize social security. we should maintain our promise. >> when i asked you your views on social security, you said
everything was on the table. >> we met to two weeks ago. i have done my research and my homework. i do not believe that is the way we shall go. we have a promise to our seniors and we should deliver on that promise. not for someone that is in the workforce, relying, to their detriment, on our poor planning. >> what about entitlement programs? he was reluctant to approach the costly entitlement programs. are there any you would be willing to look at? >> i do not believe that is where the cuts should come from. my dad used to say you fail to plan, plan to fail. we have failed to plant as a state and a nation.
that is why we are in this predicament. if you think about the question you asked previously about jobs, we have created 209, 213 jobs -- $1.2 million per job. it is not the return on investment we're looking for. that is poor planning. >> this bipartisan commission is looking to raise the retirement age. >> i would not support that. we have one of the highest percentages of seniors and people approaching that age in the country. we have made a commitment and i will keep that commitment. we need to prioritize our spending in washington. that is where the problem lies. that is where we have gotten completely off track. people are beginning to recognize that. the easiest way is to stop
spending $910 billion in afghanistan and iraq. we should not have a bridge between providence and put it that we have to wait six or seven years repaired, when we are spending $40 billion fixing roads and bridges in iraq. add this point in time, we are a generous country. we're very generous people here in our state. we need to tighten our belts and so does congress. we need to look at where we are spending hard-earned tax money, particularly around the world. is it being spent appropriately? should it be reduced? it should help people who need help here. >> can you answer the social security question -- raising the retirement age to 70 years old -- would you support that? >> i would not support such
changes. looking at adjustment for people who are younger, living longer, that might be reasonable, but social security is not in the crisis that the right wing wants us to believe it is in. paul krugman have made clear that the amount of revenue that is necessary to make up the projected gap years down the line is equal to about 1/4 of the cost of the bush tax cuts. it is less than the cost of the wars in afghanistan and iraq right now. there are other options to look at. >> paul krugman can ignore $1.40 trillion deficit. how would you shrink it? >> some of them have been spoken to already. a job-inducing stimulus will pay for some of itself, because it will facilitate commerce down the line, while keeping people employed, and increasing tax revenues. ending the bush tax cuts where
people are making over $250,000 per year is a reasonable measure to take. we need to rein in spending on the war. >> can you answer how to shrink the deficit? >> the first and most important way is to bring our troops home as responsibly and quickly as we can. we have spent more in afghanistan and iraq -- $4 billion per month. that is a little bit less than the entire community development block grant for the entire country. we're rebuilding schools, bridges, roads have lawyer around the world, but we have them here in our own country that are crumbling. we have to be strong direct home and make the right investments in america. the second way is to repeal the $3 billion in subsidies that go to the big oil companies and shift that to investments in renewable energy. >> $3 billion? is that not a drop in the fiscal
budget? >> it is an important investment and the way to repeal interests that are undermining us. >> i will move onto a rapid-fire session. i will ask you a yes or no question. i'm looking for just a yes or no. we will start left to right. >> what happens if we do not say yes or no? >> it is up to you if you want to give the people at home the question -- the perception that you cannot answer a yes or no question. would you vote to repeal the military policy don't ask, don't tell? >> yes. >> yes. >> yes. but i guess. -- >> absolutely. >> from right to left, would you vote to approve money to close
guantanamo bay? >> i believe so. >> no. >> no. >> it would depend what would be done with the prisoners there. [laughter] >> one of the proposals is to move the detainees to an underused prison in illinois. that is one proposal. >> if i were satisfied they would be in a secure facility, yes. >> yes. for the people that answered yes, the proposal was to move it to an underused prison in illinois. we happen to have an underused prison here in rhode island. would you be willing to allow
those detainees to be moved to there? >> i have full faith and our law enforcement officers to protect our country and ourselves, so yes. >> no. it is not a question of a lack of confidence in the facility or personnel. this facility in illinois is a very high level security. >> i agree with david cicilline. it is a rural area of illinois. >> at this moment, would you vote to retain nancy pelosi as speaker of the house? >> yes. >> depending on what she promised for my state. >> is that yes? is she doing a good job? >> i think she is doing a good job. i would want to secure as much as i could for rhode island.
>> i do not think she really cares. if i were elected and she were the leader of the party, i would vote to support her and my party in congress. >> i believe so. yes. >> next question. right to left. if in congress at the time, would you have voted to pass a national health care reform act? >> i would have, but i would have pushed hard for a public option. >> i would have reluctantly, but i would plan on revisiting at for an amending. >> yes, but i would have pressed hard for a public option. i understand this is just the first step. we have a lot more to do. >> yes. following the rules. >> good for you. the top priority of labor is to
get the legislation passed. would you vote to do away with secret ballot in union legislation? >> it is in the senate right now. secret ballots would not be included. i would not vote for the house version. >> our entire delegation supports the version you are talking about and i would as well. >> i agree with the mayor. people should be able to vote without the fear of facing intimidation. >> i am proud to support that. ledproud to have delegations of representatives into the masonic temple hotel where 85% of workers -- >> your answer is yes. >> my answer is yes. >> final question -- i will allow you to explain this one
more if you need to. do you support a woman's right to choose? >> yes. but absolutely, i always have. >> yes. >> i am pro-life with the inception -- with the exception incest.and >> there was a very public fight between patrick kennedy and congressman. should someone be allowed to take communion if they support the policy the contradicts their faith? >> yes. that whole issue could have been better handled as a private matter between them. i feel that the bishop has an absolute right to speak out and criticize where he feels appropriate if there is someone belonging to his church who does not adhere to the teachings of the church. i have long said and will continue to say that there are some issues, frankly, that i am
not in lockstep with the orthodox part of the catholic church. that is an issue between myself and my god. someday we will meet, i hope, and discuss is. in the meantime, i will continue to follow my conscience on those issues. >> do you agree with that? you will not be in opposition to the church, but you think politicians who are should be allowed to take communion? >> yes, i do. i do not believe that those differences should have been aired in a public forum. i believe that elected officials should be able to receive communion. been a few became a democrat in may of this year. -- >> you became a democrat in may of this year. you have been the work -- a contributor to republican.
those were looking to make the decision, how do you reconcile your record? >> i reconcile it like this. like overset -- like over 60% of the population i and disconnected. -- we are disconnected and unaffiliated. i would say that -- >> be specific with the governor. >> i did donate to that governor. i did donate to seven democrats at the same time. i donated for one specific issue. i supported how hard he pushed for the separation of powers. it was a single-issue donation. >> your donation was in 2006,
$1,000. separation of powers was passed in 2004, two years before your donation. >> if you follow my focus plan, i have a 23-page focus plan to get citizens back involved with their government, the core comes from the separation of powers. what happened was this -- when it was pushed to the voters, 73% voted in favor of separation of powers, which became a political mandate for elected officials to vote for it. that includes the governor's implementation. that is the core of my plan. we need to get citizens involved with the government so they can make decisions and tell us how they feel and how we should vote on a specific issue. >> the political question to you as well -- for the past 12 years as chairman of the state democratic party, you have been
-- >> i am proud of the job i did. that was my job. i do not hold elective office. i have never served in the house or senate. i took on the responsibility because i believe that the democratic party has been a party of working families, particularly here in rhode island. i am proud to have played even a very small part of that tradition. .
>> i was never afraid to stand up and speak my mind. frankly, i think that is something the people of rhode island want and need them. i think they need it now in washington. >> mr. segal, you were once a progressive democrat. you are now a green party member. our liberal views opening your to greater risk of defeat in a general election? >> i would disagree strongly with that. i think my views right now are almost non-ideological. a bleak corporate power in washington has run amok and we need to push back against the banks, insurance companies, and utility companies, to do right by americans. i think that is something most non-conservatives believe as well.
>> there are pretty nasty polls that came up today, the abc washington poll. it showed that most americans would like to see a republican- controlled congress as opposed to a democratic-controlled congress. why should people vote for you? >> that is a pool of most americans, not most rhode island doors. the reason that are fed up with congress is it is to contingent upon the will of all the campaign contributors and corporate interests that have rammed through the bailout of banks and the lack of a public option as part of the insurance reform package. i have always stood in stark opposition to such corporate control of our elections. >> mr. cicilline, you have a record people can scrutinize a little more than others. you came in as mayor promising reform for a clock -- a corrupt city hall. your administration had a share of blemishes. two police officers are charged in a drug ring.
how can we trust you to be a reformer in washington, when many question whether you were able to do it right here in providence? >> i am proud of the work we have done in the city of providence to restore honesty and integrity. i am proud of the results in terms of new investment to the city, the lowest crime rate in three decades, creation of a high-quality national model of an after-school programs, improvements in our schools. providence continues to be a place where businesses are coming. it gives us a knowledge economy. i am proud of our work and of my team. i work for city government. with respect to how does that position before washington, what we need is someone who is going to stand up and fight for hard- working middle-class families, something i have done every day as mayor of this city, something i have seen every day throughout my city. we stood up to banks. a proposed an ordinance to require banks to give people a mediation process before it
forecloses on them. deutsche bank and wells fargo sydney. i won. we issue processes of contingency to keep people in their homes. i took on all the institutions and brought honor and integrity to government. i will fight in washington. >> i want to move on to immigration. lynch, mr. you support a pass to citizenship for illegal immigrants. what do you want to sit for this to happen? specifically, do you think as part of the pack to citizenship illegal immigrants should have to learn english and pay back taxes? >> absolutely. it is frustrating for me and others to see what is happening around the country because of the complete failure of the congress to deal with immigration comprehensively on a federal basis. that is what you see the problems we have in arizona. that is where you see the problems in rhode island. they are all the same issue. they are a direct result of the congress's failure to act on a
critical issue that has been before them for several years. back in 2004-2005, there was a bipartisan bill in congress that such a clear framework to resolve these issues, including securing our borders, using the national guard as appropriate, a press which is citizenship for the 12 million people we know are here, learning english, paying taxes, paying a fine, and not in favored treatment. the congress should have done that. they should be ashamed to work away from that issue. now they, like arizona, are suffering the consequences. we need to fix that nationally, and now, not when they feel like getting around for it. >> gemma, any bill that came on abortion to e-1/2ver andify -- and a bill that came out of
washington would like ely have an e-verify component. as a businessman, what do you think of that? >> until it is as reliable as it needs to be, i would not support it until we know it is accurate. >> many people entered the country legally and overstay a be so like a tourist visa. hearty chuckle the statistic if you do not -- how do you tackle this statistic if you do not crack down on the employers? >> whinney to hold them accountable for hiring them. here is a bigger problem. there is 11 million undocumented workers in the united states now. they have over 4 million children. these are now american citizens. the problem is bigger. their status brings -- it would
take $300 billion to deport them. the answer is looking down the borders. it does not make any sense. >> should they have to learn english and payback taxes? >> they should. they should have to pay a fine as well. the budget is about $66 billion over 10 years. >> for mr. cicilline, the proposed unaggressive withdrawal from afghanistan, earlier than the president has called for. some congressmen are voting against additional funding for the war. how serious are you about getting out of that country? >> i am very serious about getting out. i think we have to do it as quickly and responsibly as we can. i am arguing for a smaller footprint, and more strategic presence. >> would you vote against funding? >> no. i believe so long as there are men and women in afghanistan
which have an obligation to support them with the resources they need. a decision has to be made by the civilian leadership, not be the military leadership. i believe the time has come to bring our troops home, to reduce the size of that book front, to be more counterinsurgency and strategic. that will allow the afghanis to stand up with their own political institutions and military, which is the best way to stabilize that region. when need to do that in a responsible and expeditious way. we are responsible for giving the men and women there the resources they need. >> would be declaring victory in afghanistan donne's >> victory will be declared when there is a stable government in afghanistan and the evgeny people are supporting their own civil institutions. there has to be a political solution, not a military solution. we are spending $4 billion and month of taxpayer money.
studies conclude that 40% to 70% of that money is going to corrupt officials. taxpayer money is in the hands of corrupt officials. that is a disrespect to america. we need to do what we can to protect our long-term national security. that can be done by ensuring that afghan military and civilian institutions exist and we support that. that is not the presence we have. >> mr. segal, on defense spending, do you support scheme in but the guards if so, what do you say to people and district 1 who rely on defense spending for work? >> i would vote against the spending bill before the congress right now. i believe we should support the troops that are there. i think we support them best by funding their stake -- their
safe return home. i do not think there is a clear path to resolution. i would vote against spending. >> he would vote to return them home but not for their -- >> yes. exactly. the other question -- i believe that we should convert some of our spending away from military spending and toward other things that also serve a productive purpose. in rhode island we have lots of people who are working for raytheon. those companies do more than more for the military. we should do more than encourage them to skew their technology toward the domestic economy, green technology. i think we could vastly improve public transit and infrastructure in rhode island. i think all those workers are
smart engineers. those firms have an important role to play in an effort. >> are you saying stop making -- stop doing business for the military, and convert them to other types of work dark squawks not stop. we have the best military in the world. i think that is a good thing. we should be able to defend our borders. i think we can skew our government spending is commensurate with those mandates and federal priorities. weekends do that toward things that help build domestic infrastructure. >> president obama supported education commissioner deborah gives money teachers were laid off at the city's underperforming press cools. did you support the move to fire the teachers? >> i believe there should have been a little more dialogue and a little more diplomacy. i believe deborah gibbs had to
eventually fire them. i hoped it would not come down to that, but unfortunately it did. i believe as far as education is concerned we are not embracing some of the best and brightest in the country. under our plan, we will focus on a financial transparency and accountability. i see a citizen-driven government. i see schools driving educational excellence. there are great institutions throughout our country that we can emulate. we are not solving some of the best and brightest and bringing that information of best practice. >> what specifically can you do from washington to improve on that performance? >> under my plan, and would create work groups for specific areas. one would be for education. when people are disengaged with
their government in the state of rhode island and nationally, which would bring them into the work group to form policy. what has happened is a lot of people are disconnected. the best and brightest have this information. we can filter out and get to the best information possible. >> mr. segal, those who want federal money it must base hiring and firing on student performance. do you support merit pay for teachers? >> i do not. it has been demonstrated to be costly and ineffective. it undermines the from work. as it relates, i believe that every student in the state deserves a high-quality education. that is what i support the firing of bad teachers.
it sends a message to bad teachers that they should avoid central -- it's a message to good teachers that they should avoid central falls, because they can be fired even if they did nothing. i think evaluation systems should take student performance into account, but take into account professional development and less-quantifiable and outputs. i think there should be teacher evaluations, to use the test: does not do right by teachers and servants. >> i have a specific question for you. he pledged to address the providence public school system when he took office, cicilline mr.. but the worst performing schools are in your city. >> about the central falls issue -- i am proud of what we are doing. it is a stark contrast with what happened in central falls.
i believe it is the collective responsibility of the community. parents, teachers, and students have to work together to achieve success for our kids. in provenance we have led the nation with san francisco on extended learning opportunities, crediting after- school programs and a new school day from early in the morning to late at night. we have a districtwide curriculum. we are in the middle of a teacher evaluation that will be a national model. providence is one of only two districts in the state that signed on to "race to the top." that happened because of collaborative partnership. we are all working together. i believe what happened in central falls is bad for kids and bad for teachers, but we have to change the results. we all the kids in the state and our country access to the best quality of public education. we are not just competing with the next town and state. we are competing with india,
china, and germany. to give them the opportunity to succeed, which have to raise student achievement. that means investing in facilities, like in providence. we are building a modern, safe building for education. it has the best technical academy in the northeast. we have school funding. we have fairness in funding public education. >> on the central falls issue, are you saying you are against the firing? >> what i am saying is the approach we used in providence, to work in partnership. we are the first district in the state where teachers are not hired based on seniority. we have merit-based tire. >> you are not giving me the answer to that question. >> i do not believe the wholesale firing of teachers was good for the students, the community, or the teachers. there is a better way to do it. the way we did it was by real partnership.
at the end of the day, we are accountable to our kids for the quality of their education. >> mr. lynch, should twitter's be held accountable? >> ahsha course they should be held accountable. it was never shown to me that the mass firing of all the teachers in central falls was a solution to the problem. it clearly was not. they have not been able to mediate their differences to move forward. i take issue with the mayor on a few things he says about problems. unlike every other town in rhode island, the mayor of providence controls the school system. the superintendent serves at the pleasure of the mayor. providence has had and still has, unfortunately, some of the lowest performing schools in this area. and for the last seven years, prior to president obama and secretary duncan taking the lead in getting communities like
providence involved in waste to the top, which i also support -- seven years of inaction with in the providence school system. those children are lost. something should have been done. i believe the mayor should have done it sooner. >> the work that has been done began the day i took office, both in terms of work on a cordial one, work and professional development, work to identify new superintendents, work on a new model of an after-school program, the extended morning, new investment in facilities, new teacher evaluation tools -- all that preceded race to the top. umag to complement the school board. this was all done when the state was reducing and $20 million in its investment in education. the worst that was done was done in the context of making the right investment. >> we are running out of time.
30 seconds, if we could. this weekend, attorney general eric holder said he is concerned that the mastermind of the 9-11 attacks may not face the death penalty if he pleads guilty in a military court rather than being tried in the civilian proceeding where the death penalty applies. i am a jury is for you feel about it personally. should he be put to death? >> i am not in favor of the death penalty under any circumstance. i am not in favor of the death penalty. i am like every other american mortified at someone that sinister. i am not in favor of the death penalty. >> i oppose the death penalty, but i hope that his punishment is harsh and along. i think you can argue that life imprisonment without any option of parole is a very severe penalty.
>> i want to be very clear. i have consistently said i differ with some of the other people on the stage. any terrorist whose goal is to hurt innocent americans who is captured should be tried, convicted if appropriate, and the death penalty is appropriate. i do not believe -- i disagree with some people here and also with the president of the united states. i do not believe that terrorists, when captured, should be afforded all of the rights of citizens to civil trials. >> i believe in the use of our criminal courts. in hundreds of cases before september 11 and after september 11, terrorists were tried in criminal courts and published -- and punish. in military courts, only three it were tried. in two cases, the sentence was less than a year. >> mr. gemma, if you could,
president obama is in a legal battle to contain all -- to to continue the temporary ban on deepwater oil drilling. do you support the ban? >> i do. >> a cicilline mr.? >> yes. this is important as they try to ram things through our waters. i strongly support the president. >> i am a lng. about for months i have been outspoken. this is one of the worst proposals ever to come before the state of rhode island. with regard to the moratorium, there has been no enforcement or oversight of that industry. that has become clear. i will not support a long-term plan debt moratorium for the simple reason that it will bankrupt multiple businesses in that area. i think it needs to be done expeditiously to be sure those
wells are safe, but that businesses all over the country are not part in further trouble. >> i strongly support the moratorium. i can't support renewable energy in the state. i have worked on the wind turbines to see popping up in portsmouth and along highway, where more solar panels. i think congress should start showing for the oil companies and promote renewable energy in earnest. >> we will be back briefly. we are out of time for the first hour. >> we are talking about some very important issues facing all of rhode island. this is going to continue for another 30 minutes. right now, we want to give the candidates an opportunity to deliver their closing statements. we want to remind you that the debate is not over. it will continue from 8:00 until 8:30, right after the candidates make some brief remarks. the order of statements was
determined by a drawing. after that, the candidates will give the audience an opportunity to applaud. >> this election is about one thing -- who is on your side? but the corporations and special interests, we stand with you, working families of rhode island. i first ran for office eight years ago to be able is for people who did not have much. and every chores, i have made the people of our state first -- not the corporations, not the developers, not the lobbyists, but you. indeed a congressman who is not afraid to stand strong for our values not just when it is easy and popular, but every time in matters for working families. that is the kind of congressmen are one to be in washington. >> thank you again for doing this debate. this is a time in our country
when we need new thinking, new ideas, and a sense of commitment to share american values. we need to let people go to congress and fight for working families -- someone who has a record of delivering results, who understands what we need to do to fix our state. i have a record as mayor of the city of providence the last eight years. i know what works. i can deliver for our state. >> mr. gemma? >> i want to thank everyone for listening. i also want to remind you of our mission. i want to reinvigorate public service for the 21st century. it is about listening to our government. it is about listening to our people. u.s. seen it yes or no questions. it is about listening. it is about me endangering ree re-engaging.
>> a lynch mr. -- mr. lynch? >> tonight you have had a lot of talk about who can best stand up for you. if you are happy with the course the state is on in providence and you want to see more of the same, you have options to vote for other candidates. but if like me you are fed up with washington and looking for someone who will call it as it is, if you believe it is time for term limits in congress, i ask for your support and will advocate for you on a daily basis. >> thank you to the candidates. thank you for a wonderful audience. they have been waiting to applaud the candidates. here is your opportunity to applaud the four candidates. [applause]
we are not done yet. we have more coming up. but before we go off the air, i want to thank the providence performing arts center for hosting our debate tonight. we have tackled a lot of questions and issues so far. we have much more coming up on our website. we will be doing that from a clock until endicott 30. will have a complete wrapup coming up tonight falling the all-star game. once again, thanks for watching. we are still on w onpri.com -- a wpri.com.stillo on [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010]
clark's welcome back to the campaign 2010 debate, continuing live. let us head right to our viewer questions. what you think is most important to focus on right now? not a year from now, but right now? job creation or deficit reduction? >> job creation, definitely. if we get our people back to work it will help the economy. that will help the deficit on the other side. job creation without doubt.
>> how as a congressman at do you get people back to work? >> i am the only candidate year that has created jobs in the business sector. i am probably the strongest suited to do that. i am going to look at it as a leg of a stall. one of those legs is aligning our government with what it is strong at. rhode island is most strong in education, and health care, in the construction sector. the other leg of the stool is having rhode island become the health and wellness capital of america. that is a multi dollar industry we can bring to our state. that would allow us to create jobs. it would not only create jobs for consulting, it would create manufacturing jobs to make exercise bikes. it is an industry that if we commit tax credits we could
stretch. that is my approach to getting people back to work. >> we will go down to the wind. it is job creation or deficit reduction. i am anticipating job creation to be your answer, but the part to is -- what about mr. gemma's charge? he is a businessman. is he the only one who can create jobs? >> i have done so in the city. this is something i can talk about. i recently talked to a young man who had been out of work for two years. he had been back to work. he said, "i could pay my first bill this week." the most important thing is to create conditions for job creation. we have the fourth highest unemploymente