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Beating Vern Buchanan a priority for Democratic congressional candidates

The two Democrats running to unseat U.S. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, vowed to support the winner of the August primary if that means Buchanan will not be re-elected.

About 75 people heard from Brent King and Jan Schneider, who are facing off in the Aug. 30 primary for the 16th Congressional District, at the Manatee Democratic Club luncheon on Monday. The winner will face Buchanan or his GOP challenger, James Satcher, in November for the seat, which represents Manatee County and portions of Sarasota and Hillsborough counties.

“We need a change in the 16th District ,and that’s why I’m running,” King said.

Schneider added of Buchanan: “He is for the rich and the strong and we are for all the people.”

Both candidates repeatedly stressed the importance of defeating Buchanan in the election.

“I’m running to defeat Vern, to defeat (Donald) Trump and for the people of this district and country,” Schneider said.

During a nearly two-hour debate at the Peridia Golf and Country Club, the candidates answered a series of questions on topics ranging from gun violence to the minimum wage.

Legislation to stop gun violence

King: “Assault weapons ban, universal background checks, which is gun show loophole, and no fly, no buy. Those would be the initial top three things that we need to do to.”

Schneider: “Legislation I would propose would have to go beyond an assault weapons ban to banning things like publicly advertising how you convert weapons. Of course, I am in favor of no fly, no buy.”

Minimum wage

King: “We have got to move it up, and we have got to put it with a cost index so it has got to adjust with inflation. That’s the No. 1 thing. If we can do that, we can solve this coming back to the minimum wage every 10 years because if we put a cost of living adjustment on the minimum wage, we will be fine.”

Schneider: “I’m in favor of a living wage. ... It should be an easy fix. In fixing minimum wage, we have to fix all the things that surround it. Keep up the school lunch programs, keep up the benefits for children programs. Things like that so people can have a living wage.”

Trade

King: “I support trade in general. We need to have fair trade.”

Schneider: “Fair trade is good for our country. We have to protect our workers.”

Claire Aronson: 941-745-7024, @Claire_Aronson

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