By Janine Unsoeldwww.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
A debate Monday night between the 10th Congressional District candidates, incumbent Democrat Denny Heck and Republican challenger Joyce McDonald, drew about 60 people. The event was held at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia.Cythnia Iyall, chairperson of the Nisqually Indian Tribe, moderated 11 pre-determined questions, and Allyson Brooks, vice president of the Olympia chapter of the League of Women Voters, asked several questions posed by audience members, written on index cards.
The debate was taped for broadcast on Thurston County Television (TCTV).
Heck mentioned the Seahawks game in progress as a possible reason for the sparse crowd and kept the audience up on the game score during the debate and announced its outcome at the debate’s end, which received the loudest cheer of the evening.
Heck answered each question with confidence while McDonald read some answers about national or international issues from prepared notecards. She spoke most warmly and effectively about being a former foster parent and softball coach, and her time as a state legislator. McDonald also has several years of experience on the Pierce County council.
Questions covered standard election issues: the revenue disparity between rich and poor, federal legislation for curbing carbon emissions, the quality of the rail system with regard to safe fossil fuel transport, immigration, foreign policy, wounded veterans, jobs and more.Questions posed by the South Sound audience were also wide ranging. McDonald was sometimes vague, as was Heck, who also liked to tell stories and use his allotted time to its fullest capacity.
Should the Washington Redskins be compelled to change its name or face Congressional censure?
McDonald: …Public pressure should do the job for them…. the market tends to work quite well in these cases...I don’t think it’s the role of government….
Heck: Yes. Nobody has the right to engage in a racial slur….It's deeply insensitive to the First Peoples of this nation....
The Trans Pacific Partnership - How can we protect our local environment and jobs?Heck: Well, I think you've touched upon two of the three criteria I think applies to any proposal for the Partnership...this is kind of a big deal - this is a proposal to enter into a trade agreement with 11 other nations…it is fraught with both danger and opportunity: Three criteria should include: 1) assurance that its adoption will not harm workers…2) Assurance that we are not just exporting low governmental standards… 3) assurances that it will protect our sovereignty….we ought not to delegate the right to set policy for America.
McDonald: …At the Congressional level, I would very clearly be working on it depending on what committee picked it up…this is a very important issue, a more important issue for Washington State than for some others so I’d be following this very closely….The proposal to de-list the Great Wolf from the protection of the Endangered Species Act:
McDonald: I wouldn’t support that...I don’t think they’ve come back with enough population to warrant that…Heck: …Science ought to dictate this…it ought not to be a political decision, it ought to be based on science. It just seems to me that it shouldn’t be that difficult to determine whether or not the base of that population is sufficient….
What to do about the high incarceration rate in the United States:Heck: …I think it’s more than worrisome when America has the highest incarceration rate in the world…This is a very expensive way to deal with problems in our society...it’s a lot cheaper to invest up front…in a strong education system so they can see the future of hope….
McDonald: …In Pierce County, we put in place other alternatives to incarceration and allow… alternatives to court such as drug court and veteran’s court…and put people into pathways…rather than just put them in jail and throw away the key…As a former foster parent, I understand that some people have to play the hand they are dealt, but we need to bring people alongside so they can get the help and encouragement and modeling that they need to become productive citizens….Funding priorities and if you would increase funding for the National Park Service:
McDonald: I’d love to but… my priority will be getting on board with a plan that will reduce the federal debt so we don’t continue to burden our future generations….so I won’t be going there to increase funding. I’ll be going there to see if we can’t find a way to maintain…what we have….Heck: The fact of the matter is that we get to the point that the funding for providing for some of these facilities and services is so low that it will end up costing us more in the long term… our national parks have been degraded over the last several years…The bigger threat is sequestration….
If Shelton were to receive 400 new immigrants who are meeting their families in Mason County, who should pay for the bi-lingual teachers and the load on the schools and the community?Heck: It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provisions for the education of all children….It is unequivocal….
McDonald: Unfortunately, the state of Washington would have to pick up the bill for those children… but this is just another example of …where the federal government has…failed to do its job….to enforce existing law. In my perspective, this is something that should be picked up, at the very least, by the federal government….Should President Obama ask for a declaration of war against the Islamic State? How would you vote and why:
McDonald: Well, I think it’s evident that the Islamic State has made a declaration of war against the United States and its citizens by beheading American citizens and other citizens of allies of the United States…I think it’s definitely something that should be debated in Congress. It’s not that simple, an act of declaring war and then we run into a country, and start bombing and put troops on the ground…. War is a very serious matter and people’s lives, people we love, who put their lives on the line….Our military is the best in the world….so I’m just not sure this is the right time to be making a declaration of war….but when the time comes, the President should go with Congress, and with one voice, we should take care of the business that must be taken care of.Heck: …Not once has war been formally declared since WWII….think back to all our conflicts we’ve been involved with in the last seven years – not once, except WWII, did we formally declare war. What’s happening now at least is that the President is operating under…the Authorized Use for Military Force, AUMF, it is called. It was adopted by Congress in 2002, and that’s what he’s using… as his justification… What I do think is appropriate…and it’s past due, is for Congress to at least try…to… make it more reflective of our times… new conditions and/or limitations, new instructions to the President and our Armed Forces with respect to our involvement there….I think it’s a Congressional responsibility… to at least attempt it.
For more information on Representative Denny Heck’s positions, see an article dated January 8, 2014 titled, “One Year in Congress: Is Congressman Heck Giving ‘Em Heck?” go to www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com and type key words into the search engine.