Thursday, October 25, 2012

120th HD debate

State Representative Phyllis Mundy (D) and challenger Aaron Kaufer (R) faced off in a lively debate Tuesday night that I wasn't able to attend.

Gort42 special correspondent and contributor John Lombardo covered the event:

Tuesday’s political debate between Aaron Kaufer and Phyllis Mundy came with a good crowd at Wyoming Seminary in Kingston. The topics of the debate ranged from property taxes to natural gas drilling. All of these were extremely important to the 120th Dristrict…but the most important question was only asked at the end by candidate Kaufer. “Why did we have no discussion about jobs?” he said during his closing statement.
            During the debate, there were no questions asked(or read by the moderator) asking what we are to do about the high unemployment. Now, I don’t live in the 120th District, but I do work there for the West Pittston Ambulance every weekend. Whenever we go out on calls I see a lot of houses with “For Sale” signs(not just in the flood zone), and I wonder why it is so bad that people have to leave, and our representatives aren’t paying attention to it.
            One of the problems is the high property taxes. Families were promised relief when the casino was built, but most saw none. Rep. Mundy said that she fought to get property tax relief, and said that she would sign a bill eliminating them if it was brought to her on the house floor. Aaron Kaufer fired back saying that it was bad practice to just wait for a bill to be brought to her. He said that she should’ve been reaching across the aisle to help get that bill written and brought to a vote. I can’t help but agree!
            Other questions asked during the debate involved gun control(why?), the Voter ID law, and the UGI Compressor Station is West Wyoming. Strangely enough, Phyllis and Aaron were both in a general agreement on these issues(except for gun control). One of the first things I ever learned about debating is to never EVER say “I agree” with your opponent no matter what. Always find something to pick apart no matter how small or insignificant it is.
            One of the other topics of agreement was the Natural gas drilling in NEPA. We are the only state without a severance tax on gas drilling, and both candidates support one. But I think Rep. Mundy must have bumped into President Obama on the way to this debate and stolen some of his cue cards, because I heard “fair share” about ten times.
            Even though I’m not a resident of the 120th District, I will definitely be paying attention to the race because it has some big effects on everyone living in Northeast Pennsylvania. Best of luck and thanks to both of the candidates for coming to my political forum at Penn State Wilkes-Barre.

Matt Hughes write up in the Times Leader has the play by play on the  issues  that documents their agreement on some issue. Bill Wellock covered it for the Citizens Voice.

The debate can be viewed on the Video Innovations website:  

Video streaming by Ustream

I just viewed the video and few things stood out. Aaron Kaufer had  command of the issues and admitted that he didn't know enough about some obscure bill to comment on it. Phyllis Mundy kept attacking Governor Tom Corbet and the Republican State Senate and tied them to Grover Norquist. Kaufer kept saying he would work for Bipartisan solutions. On the severance tax and environmental safeguards Mundy asked  "Is he going to be the only one over there who votes to do those things?" Kaufer landed a punch on pensions after Mundy said she voted against  increases but took it anyway. Mundy didn't commit any unforced errors but Kaufer had a few questionable statements. On the assault weapons ban Kaufer said the Holocaust would not have happened if Jews had guns. He really screwed up saying  "We don't need old politicians." The audience booed. At the end he said his background was in US/Chinese economics. ???

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