MANATEE — The District 13 congressional race between two-term incumbent Republican Vern Buchanan and his Democratic challenger, James T. Golden, a former Bradenton City Council member, is a pretty cut-and-dry party line affair.
The candidates fall predictably with their parties, especially on hot-button issues like the economy.
During a recent METV televised debate, Buchanan emphasized fiscal conservatism, saying he supports “common sense” spending and balanced budgets.
Buchanan said he was concerned about the $1.4 trillion deficit last year, with a similar deficit expected this year.
He said that in his congressional district are 300,000 senior citizens and 100,000 veterans, and questioned whether America could continue to provide the benefits they earned while carrying huge debt and deficits.
Buchanan said he has hosted approximately 20 town hall meetings, and that people are concerned about the country’s direction, with some expressing dismay openly for the first time in their lives.
He voted against the economic stimulus bill because it meant “another trillion dollars we’re going to put on the backs of our children,” he said.
Golden said he also favors a responsible spending agenda, but emphasized there is no “quick fix” to curing such severe economic damage.
He suggested that achieving a balanced budget “goes hand in glove” with growing tax revenue to balance the budget of a healthy system.
Golden accused Buchanan of being like those that just vote “no” on everything. Golden argued that, in order to rebuild the economy, he would take positive action to continue to carry the country forward.
Golden favored tax credits to companies that are retooling to end the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels; education funding to retrain the labor force in renewable technologies and support for first-time home buyers to spur the construction industry, with weighted relief for areas with particularly high unemployment.
Buchanan said he voted against the health care reform package because 70 percent of those in his district opposed it.
The health care reform cuts $500 billion from Medicare, and calls for $500 billion in additional taxes, and most of his constituents are “not interested in reducing their benefits as it relates to that,” he said.
Golden urged people to cast their votes. “The only message that would really matter” — whether you do it with an absentee ballot, by voting early or on Nov. 2 — is your vote, he said. “It does not matter what the signs say or how much money we spend to get your attention, in the end, it’s still one person, one vote.”
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7031.