Grant Starrett says our country is facing a financial, moral and constitutional crisis.
Fapas Faparusi says the upcoming generation of Americans is at risk of being in worse economic shape than their parents.
Erron Persley says faith and virtue are two things missing from politics today.
And Scott DesJarlais, well, he didn’t say anything.
DesJarlais, the incumbent Congressman for the 4th District, didn’t show up for the Southern Standard/ WCPI political forum Tuesday night at Warren County Administrative Offices. He was the only Republican in his race who didn’t attend.
The other three candidates spent the time outlining their plans for America and answering questions from a media panel.
Said Persley in his opening remarks, “The center of who I am is a Christian. I want us to bring faith and virtue back to politics, to elevate the conversation about what kind of people we want to be moving forward, what kind of responsibility we have to the rest of the world as the greatest nation in this world.”
Starrett says he’s knocked on over 100,000 doors in his bid for Congress. He was critical of DesJarlais for not appearing at the forum to defend his record and for voting for $700 billion in food stamps when the country is $19 trillion in debt.
“The food stamp program is especially pernicious because it encourages people not to work,” said Starrett.
Faparusi, an immigrant who earned his U.S. citizenship legally, says others should be encouraged to work hard and do the same.
“I went through the legal immigration system. I did not violate it. That’s one reason I think we need to enforce immigration laws. When I talk to people around the district, there are so many fathers who have lost their jobs because the employer wants to pay someone under the table.”
When asked about immigration later in the program, Faparusi went on to say, “Illegal immigration is a problem. First things first, we need to secure the border. When you talk about securing the border, it goes past immigration. We also need to secure the border to keep terrorists from coming through as well.”
Starrett was asked about the Supreme Court decision which legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. It’s a decision in which he doesn’t agree.
Said Starrett on gay marriage, “If you were to read the minutes of the constitutional convention in the 1700s, or if you were to the read the minutes of the people who talked about the post-Civil War amendments, none of them could have possibly contemplated that the constitution required states to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. This goes to the heart of what I said in my opening statement. We are facing a constitutional crisis in this country. This goes to the heart of where we’re at as a nation in that liberal judges are just out of control and they’re reading into the constitution whatever their own values are as opposed to going back to a strict interpretation of what the constitution really means.”
When asked about the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, Persley said he talked to a female restaurant worker who only has catastrophic healthcare coverage so she would have to pay out of pocket to visit a family physician.
“She has to wait for her cold to get worse, and more costly, before she can get care,” said Persley. “What kind of system is that for the American people?”
Persley went on to say, “Employers are hiring people to work 30 hours a week so they can get under the Affordable Care Act legislation. So you have workers who are only getting 30 hours, they become the working poor, so clearly there are problems with the Affordable Care Act. Will we be able to totally get rid of the Affordable Care Act? I’m not sure. But definitely what we have to do is work on a better plan that serves the American people, that says we care about you. We want you to have good healthcare and not something where we handcuff the businesses that we want to grow.”
When asked about the federal government raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour, Faparusi said he views it as a state matter because New York is not the same as Tennessee.
“Personally I think it’s not a wise idea,” said Faparusi about a federal minimum wage increase. “It’s not about compassion. It’s about economics. When you say you want to increase the minimum wage, where are the extra funds going to come from? I own three small businesses and I know firsthand what it means when people start talking about raising the minimum wage. It only sounds good on paper.”
When asked about Social Security, which is projected to pay $2 trillion more in benefits than it receives over the next decade, Starrett said the program needs to be preserved and government spending should be cut elsewhere.
“There are people who have paid into Social Security their entire lives and it needs to be protected for existing beneficiaries,” said Starrett.
When asked about the Second Amendment, Persley said the violence engulfing our nation has nothing to do with guns.
“When you have poor communities, they don’t have opportunities to grow, to develop, to live the true American dream,” said Persley. “They get themselves caught in things like crime, drugs, things of that nature, either to make money or just to get by. The violence in Chicago is not based on the fact we have the right to bear arms. It’s based on crime. It’s based on poverty. We have to attack the bigger issues in our country. More opportunities, better education.”