U.S. Senate candidates debate in Hot Springs
Hot Springs, Va. – Republican and Democratic candidates for a Virginia U.S. Senate seat debated Saturday at The Homestead resort in Hot Springs. Democratic candidate Tim Kaine served as Virginia governor from 2006-2010 and is a former Lieutenant Governor and mayor of Richmond. Republican candidate George Allen served in the U.S. Senate from 2001-2007 and also served as Virginia governor from 1994-1998.
Responding to a question on gun control, Kaine said he supports background checks at licensed dealers and gun shows.
“I, for one, believe we need to do background records checks when guns are purchased at guns shows, because, if we don’t we let people get guns who shouldn’t,” he said.
Allen said he supports background checks only at licensed dealers.
“I do think there ought to be criminal records checks from licensed firearms dealers,” he said. “That is a distinction.”
Allen said he would work to reduce spending and taxes if elected.
“After seeing so much waste of the taxpayers’ money in Washington, why should Washington, why should the federal government take even more,” he said. “I would want to go to Washington to actually protect hard-working taxpayers. We need a government that is more efficient, that is more effective, that’s focused on its priorities and accountable. I think we ought to have a tax code that is more simple, more fair and more competitive.”
Kaine says Allen does not have a track record of fiscal conservancy.
“George Allen has never made cuts,” he said. “George Allen was governor and the state budget went up by 45-percent in four years. George Allen went into the Senate and he went in with the biggest surpluses in the history of the United States and he bragged that we were likely to have surpluses for another 10 years. But he voted for two wars, without any concern about how they would be paid for. He voted to expand Medicare Part D without any concern about how it would be paid for. He voted for expensive tax cuts, not caring ho they’d be paid for. Thus, during George’s time in the Senate, we went from massive surpluses to massive deficits.”
Kaine says he supports allowing $500 billion of temporary tax cuts for higher-income Americans to expire.
“I think the right answer is to allow the tax cuts to expire over $500 billion,” he said. “That would produce some deficit reduction. But, the reason I pick that threshold is because I also believe we need to make a lot of cuts. I made a lot fo cuts as governor. I ended up my time as governor with a general fund budget that was smaller than the one I started with.”
Allen says he would work to decrease government spending, not raise taxes.
“We are now in the fourth straight year of annual deficit spending of over one trillion dollars – every single year,” he said. “Our credit-worthiness has been downgraded for the first time in United States history.
“What about jobs? The way to get our economy moving is have a vibrant economy. Over eight-percent unemployment for 41 straight months.
“What we need to do is get the federal government focused on its primary responsibilities and get this economy moving.”
A significant portion of Allegheny Mountain Radio’s operating budget comes from state and federal funding.
Following the debate, Kaine says he supports continued funding for public broadcasting.
“It’s something that I always supported, because as governor, we had state monies into our state’s public radio and television channels, as well,” he said. “I had to make cuts because I was governor during a recession, but I didn’t make cuts to public broadcasting that were out of line with other cuts – because I recognize how important it is. The ideologically-driven effort to defund public broadcasting I think is a big mistake – because public broadcasting provides a huge service to folks and, maybe, especially folks in rural America.”
Allen was unavailable for comment after the debate and his press office had not responded, at air time, to a request for a current position statement regarding public radio funding. However, when Virginia Governor, Allen proposed eliminating state funding for public radio.