Candidates speak at local forum

Published 7:00 am Saturday, May 31, 2014

Four Republican candidates running for the seat of Representative for the Fourth Congressional District spoke at a forum held in Picayune Thursday evening.

Tom Carter, Tavis Kelly, Gene Taylor and Ron Vincent were all in attendance. Incumbent Steven Palazzo was absent.

Topics discussed centered on the Affordable Health Care Act, gun laws, and other issues.

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Ron Vincent said he felt the promises made by President Barack Obama to create a better economy for the middle class have not been delivered.

“If all we do is pretend, all our efforts will be for nothing,” Vincent said.

He also said the government should abolish Common Core.

Tavis Kelly, who is a gun store owner, focused on protecting the second amendment and reducing the national debt. He said our growing debt is not only diminishing the value of the American dollar, but also the worldwide view of the country.

“We’re not respected around the world anymore,” Kelly said.

Former congressman Taylor promoted his stance on anti-abortion, supporting the second amendment and reestablishment of the term “In God we trust”. He also spoke on the need to reestablish affordable flood insurance and his desire to represent this area once again.

Carter said the biggest hurdle this nation faces is the national debt, and the need for competition in the health care market. He said competition provides more affordable options.

“If you open it up… everything changes,” Carter said.

Candidates were then asked what government policy they would abolish.

Kelly touched on restrictions to gun ownership. He feels the length of a gun’s barrel should not determine the difficulty to purchase it.

Taylor said he would abolish the Affordable Health Care Act, but ensure military personnel and the elderly had access to government-funded healthcare. Taylor said he would also like to remove pre-existing condition clauses from health insurance plans.

Carter said he would do away with regulatory agencies; he feels less government would open the door to more profit.

Vincent said he would avoid the formation of socialized healthcare. Vincent feels healthcare needs to be between a patient and the doctor.

“Everybody else just needs to butt out,” Vincent said.

He used the current mistreatment of patients at Veteran’s Administration Hospitals as an example.

“That’s a perfect example of the government running healthcare,” Vincent said.

The next question was how the candidates would work to ensure states had more control over laws, as opposed to the federal government.

Carter said he would change how the federal government taxes the states because the current process is killing jobs and opportunities. He said he disagrees with the government employing 2.6 million people, making it the country’s largest employer.

Kelly said he would cut agencies with unbalanced budgets and suggested a 10 percent flat tax.

Vincent feels the Republican Party needs to push back against the Obama administration to fix the country’s budget problems.

Taylor said he would do away with federal control of the state’s education system, since 90 percent of school funding comes from ad valorem tax.