MANATEE -- Manatee County voters certainly have a clear choice in the Florida House District 71 race, featuring Democrat Adam Tebrugge and Republican incumbent Jim Boyd.
The two took polar opposite positions on a variety of subjects Tuesday during a candidate forum hosted by The Bradenton Herald and broadcast by Manatee Educational Television. The general election is set for Nov. 6.
On whether the state should cut or abolish corporate income tax: "I am unalterably opposed to cutting the corporate income tax," said Tebrugge, of Sarasota, who added that the state needed to stabilize its revenues in order to provide services for its citizens.
Boyd, of Bradenton, took an equally forceful position favoring the idea, saying the loss of revenue the income tax now produces would "far and away" be made up when new businesses, bringing jobs with them, came to the state.
The two similarly took opposite positions on how to propel Florida toward the top of the list of the nation's education performers.
Boyd favored allowing more choices to parents "because nobody cares more than parents."
He advocated sweeping educational changes, saying there was "too much reliance on testing." Boyd also said that education needed to be funded adequately, but argued that "just throwing more money at the system is not going to cure the problem."
Tebrugge acidly noted that "we haven't been throwing money at our schools -- we've been cutting them."
Budget cuts to school systems in Manatee and Sarasota counties have been "terrible," he said.
He argued that "parental choice" was a euphemism for privatizing the public school system, adding that education funding should be provided by the state, but primarily handled at the local level.
Asked whether they supported charter schools, Boyd said he did, while Tebrugge opposed funding of private- and church-affiliated schools.
Tebrugge has practiced law in the area for more than 27 years. He was an assistant public defender in Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto counties before launching a private legal practice in 2009. He is married, with two grown stepchildren.
Boyd has more than 30 years of business experience. He owns a business that sells insurance and financial services. He is married, with two grown children.
The newly-redrawn District 71 stretches from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Manatee County to Siesta Drive in Sarasota County, including most voters west of the Tamiami Trail.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter@sarawrites.com.