This is a brief summary of what I heard from the Wyoming Democratic Candidates for U.S. Senate during the Meet the Candidates forum in Wheatland on Sunday.
"When John Barasso took office and immediately shoved his snout in the trough of special interests, I knew someone had to take him on." stated Nick Carter on what compelled him to run for the office U.S. Senate currently held by Barasso.He commented "People in Wyoming want two things. First, they want someone they can trust will represent the people of Wyoming. Second, they want someone with the courage to stand up to their convictions and vote for what's best for the people and not for what will keep them in office."
Regarding healthcare, Mr. Carter feels that people with catastrophic illnesses including the seriously ill and injured, should be covered without the worry of bankruptcy, noting that 2 million people last year had to claim bankruptcy for medical reasons. He would like to make it so small businesses could afford healthcare, reasoning that with the ability to get healthcare, we would see a blossoming of small business from entrepreneurs that can't afford to go out on their own under current conditions.
Concerning energy, Mr. Carter commented that we do not have an energy policy, it's a patchwork of plans, noting that two years ago we thought that ethanol "would deliver us from evil". He would like to see a comprehensive plan to free us from oil in 10-15 years, using clean coal, solar, wind. John Barasso, he said, takes hundreds of thousands of dollars from big oil. He won't vote for wind energy tax credits. He stated that we need to get rid of special interests.
Mr. Carter stated the current financial condition is because Washington has been "Paid to look the other way" from Wall Street. He wants people to know that "Wyoming can't be bought".
Speaking next was Dr. Chris Rothfuss, who is running against Mike Enzi. He noted that when Enzi took office in 1997, the economy was strong, but there were some problems that needed to be addressed, including the foreseen social security problem, our energy reliance issue, and the state of healthcare. In twelve years, Enzi has provided no real solutions. From 2005-2007 Enzi was the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pension committee, which Chris stated made him "The most powerful person in the nation" regarding healthcare. He states Enzi had the opportunity to address healthcare, but says that who benefits the most from Enzi's "10 Point Plan" is the healthcare industry to the tune of 200 billion dollars.
Further noting Enzi's influence from the healthcare industry, he stated that Enzi has received a quarter million from the healthcare industry, while Wyomingites contributions have only totaled $50,000, five times less. He stated Enzi has received another $150,000 from pharmaceuticals. He chided the statement Enzi made that negotiating prices for Medicare Plan B "would not save any money", stating that Enzi is being paid to say that.
Dr. Rothfuss further spoke about the deregulation of the financial industry, noting that the banking regulation legislation from 1933 was removed in 1999, which was a catalyst for the problems we now face. He said "Nobody calls it corruption because EVERYONE is drinking from the trough". The solution? Send people to congress who are above it, referring to himself, Nick Carter and Gary Trauner as "The Untouchables".
In the Q&A session, topics discussed included if Mike Enzi's daughter was receiving money for consulting him(yes, a lot), the candidates stances on the 2nd amendment (both candidates are very much for protecting it as well as ALL our rights), how to rein in Washington lobbyists (federal financing of elections) coal fired power generation and the environment (proper regulation with cap and trade, reduce CO2 emissions produced and change over time to emission-free energy sources, both feel global warming is real), and a nationwide high speed rail system (both for it).
Part II will be a run down of the Wyoming State House and Senate candidates for Platte County, and our County Commissioner incumbent candidate, Joe Reichardt.