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Price/Lawson to debate Fri. Oct. 8 at Durham Station

This fall's election is coming up, and U.S. Rep. David Price is seeking re-election in the district that serves Durham, Orange and portions of Wake County -- the heart of the western half of the Triangle. Price's undefeated in decades of service, with the small exception of the "Republican revolution" in 1994's Contract With America era. No election since '94 has drawn comparisons to that year the way that 2010 has. Will B.J. Lawson fare better in a rematch with the Price campaign this fall?

And -- ubiquitous horse race factors aside -- which candidate reflects the values, choices and issues that match yours?

The Independent Weekly is organizing a debate between the candidates next Friday, October 8 at 6:30pm at the Durham Station transit center in downtown Durham, and has been gracious enough to allow Bull City Rising to be a co-sponsor of the event; yours truly will be one of the panel asking questions of the candidates.

Do you have issues or questions you'd like to see asked of Lawson and Price next Friday? If so, post them in the comments or email them to info@bullcityrising.com, or via Twitter (@bullcity). And come down on the 8th to meet the candidates and hear what they have to say.

Price-lawson
 

Comments

Todd Patton

I would like to know where the candidates stand on tax policy - not just on extending some or all of the Bush tax cuts, but on the overall progressive tax system and how to begin addressing the annual deficit and national debt.

Would Lawson support raising any taxes, or is his sole solution cutting spending?

Would either of them support raising the income cap on the Social Security tax - about $106,000 now - to apply to more of the wages of higher income people?

Doug Roach

Curiously, my first thought on a question for these two was the same as Todd... tax policy.
I would also be interested to know whether either man would be amenable to support for public financing of elections to the point that corporate or narrow-interest lobbies are excluded.

Cormoran

Is Lawson in favor of adding billions to the deficit by giving a tax cut to billionaires?

Also for Lawson what position he has about the stimulus money for infrastructure, particularly the high speed rail line communicating us with DC and Atlanta?

WS

Not to get ahead of the substance of the debate, but you might consider checking out VoteSmart.org (a non-partisan electoral research company) to check out the candidates openly stated positions on the questions already posed... might help craft more insightful questions for the debate.

Here is D. Price's link:
http://votesmart.org/summary.php?can_id=119

And Lawson's:
http://votesmart.org/bio.php?can_id=102902

Frank Hyman

Question for Lawson>

Given the Republican party's poor performance on their Contract for America (given their contribution to the deficit and many other issues, I bet they score an F on that contract) why should anyone believe the party won't also screw up the Pledge for America ?

RWE

Here's one for Mr. Price.

According to Project Vote Smart, you support slightly decreasing federal funding for agriculture and the military, but increasing spending for nearly every other category listed.

Our national debt sits at 60% of GDP and climbing, its highest level since the immediate aftermath of WWII. How is borrowing more money from China to spend on the arts or hand out as foreign aid - two areas where you think we're not spending enough - going to help get us out of this mess?

Trinityrez

Too bad we do not have a third candidate. And Cormoran it is not just the billionaires that stand to lose if the Bush tax cuts for higher income people are withdrawn. I think tax rates for every citizen should be increased except for the wealthy. I paid more in federal taxes last year than a large percentage of people make. Because I work 80 hrs a week and care to be a positively contributing member to society should not come with a freAking punishment.

It is not hard to realize that people who do not pay income taxes would have no concern over government waste. Hell they have no stake in the game. Every citizen should pay at least 10% minimum. That way some of the idiots that think government can solve everything with money may think twice if it actually hits them in the pocket.

Trinityrez

The independent sponsoring an unbiased political event. Now that is funny.

Cormoran

Here we go another rich person complaining some more about the poor. Those poor people have too easy, we should go back to servitude.

If you pay more than most is because you made more than most, simple. Still after the amount the Government took to pay for national defense, retirement, health care, roads, schools, police, firefighters and such you still got to earn much more than most. In a time when we have such a high unemployment listening to the fat cats complain about how the can't afford the latest Lamborghini model because the have to help in paying old people's medical bills or children schools is pathetic.

TrinityRez

Sorry but I do not waste my money on frivolous objects like the financial idiots that got us in the current economic situation. Also, if you think some of the people that do not ultimately pay income taxes are poor may be you need to look at the stats.

I just love the class envy spilling from your post. Not only do I get to enjoy my success but I also have the satisfaction that my success bothers you. May be if you spent more time focusing on bettering yourself you would be successful and not have so much jealousy.

Cormoran

"the class envy" XD
Man you are indeed the poster child of the rich selfish "libertarian".

Liz Ananat

TrinityRez:

Note that the federal income tax is not the only tax collected in the US. The people whom you describe as "not paying taxes" in fact pay sales and other state-level taxes (many of them flat taxes--they pay the same rate as you), as well as the payroll tax, which is regressive.

You say that "everyone should pay at least 10% of their income"--so you should be happy to hear that they do. The bottom 20% of the income distribution in the US pays, on average, 13% of their income in taxes.

The marginal payroll tax actually drops from 15% to 3% after $107k of income. So, if you earn six figures, as you seem to imply here, you actually pay less of your last dollar of income to the government than a lot of the people you're describing as "not having a stake in the game."


Based on how you've described yourself, I'm guessing you're between the 80th and 90th percentile of the income distribution ($100-$150k)--feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. If that's the case, you're part of a group that earns 14.8% of the nation's income, and pays 15.3% of its taxes. I'm sorry to hear that you feel that counts as a "freAking punishment."

RWE

I thought we were discussing congressional candidates Lawson and Price, and suggesting actual questions that would help stimulate debate between them. These are two extremely intelligent and well-intentioned men who have very different philosophies about the responsibilities of the federal government.

I hope the discussion on Friday will be much more open-minded, respectful, and substantive than the name calling and smart assiness here.

Cindy Lewis

Where can I join the Liz Ananat (and what a great last name to type) fan club? That was a post of beauty.

Toastie

Gosh, I hate to be such a close-minded one-issue voter, but I tried to read Lawson's Votesmart Issues page and figured it wasn't worth going beyond the very first viewpoint. (I know a good number of Lawson's positions, so I'm not voting for Price just on one issue; just saying this one should be enough for many Triangle voters.)

Lawson on abortion issues:
"We can either be a pro-life culture or a pro-death culture. I choose life. Only in extreme cases should abortion be considered and only as a medical decision where the health and life of the mother are in jeopardy. In cases of rape or incest, I believe there is a difference between emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy versus termination of a known and viable pregnancy. In any case, I believe the federal government should define life as beginning at conception, and leave strategies for reducing abortions to state governments."

My personal belief is that a position like Lawson's is not just extreme, but downright ridiculous. Not quite Sharron Angle crazy, but dangerous enough.

I give Lawson credit for his "political courage".

And I give BCR credit for sponsoring this debate. If there is any anti-incumbent anger in the Triangle, this should give Price a chance to clearly explain why he deserves to continue what he's been doing.

Don

Thanks, WS, for the VoteSmart links. The slightly modified links below will take one directly to the issues position pages (VoteSmart's Political Courage Test) for each candidate:

Lawson
http://votesmart.org/npat.php?can_id=102902

Price
http://votesmart.org/npat.php?can_id=119

My question to pose: The key areas for addressing our huge national debt are tax policy, defense spending, and Social Security/Medicare. (All other spending areas are in comparison minor and changes to them are not sufficient to address the fundamental debt issue.) Why does neither candidate espouse a policy in the short term (5-10 years) of both slightly increased taxation and slightly decreased spending for the two key spending areas in order to dig us out of the hole?

Lawson proposal: decrease taxes, maintain defense funding.

Price proposal: apparent neutral taxes (decrease middle class, increase wealthy, not specific as to net effect), slightly decrease defense funding

Toastie

Speaking of Lawson and the issue of reproductive rights, I am bombarded in my internet usage by ads for Lawson. Two of his three main planks are "Less Government" and "More Freedom". Therefore, I think it would be completely appropriate to ask him if he believes in a woman's freedom to control what happens to her body and what the role the government ought to have. Two-thirds of B.J.'s platform sounds like B.S.

Kevin Davis

@Toastie: Thanks for the nod, but I should add that the Indy Weekly did and is doing all the heavy lifting on this, from finding the space to arranging the debate time to having an army of folks for logistics. Lisa Sorg, Steve Schewel and the crew there were gracious enough to invite BCR to co-sponsor the event and to be a moderator, which is kind and well-appreciated. I'm glad to be a part of it.

(BCR is chipping in to buy the refreshments, so enjoy the sodas, water and coffee if you come!)

jacob

If you're still collecting questions, here's mine:

In the past few weeks, we've heard about seven LGBT teenagers who killed themselves after being bullied. Do you support the immediate passage of the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act? If not, why not?

Dee

Please have both the candidates describe in concrete terms, using examples if necessary, how they will reach out to members of the other party to bring about compromise when a bill is stalled.

Jessica

Question to Price: Since your official stance on Energy per your own website indicates that you are against our "dependence" on fossil fuels how do you feel about other viable energy sources such as clean coal and nuclear energy?

Greg

Here are a few questions:

1) Will you both pledge not to vote for any bill UNLESS you have first read it in its entirety?

2) Will you both pledge not to vote for any bill UNLESS it has a clear constitutional basis for Congress to act?

3) Which bills that President Obama supports or supported would you vote against?

We'll at least get to see how honest they are.

Jessica

Rep Price: Why do you have such a liberal voting record having voted yes on almost every proabortion issue in the last 12 years, yet you are anti-war? Isn't that a contradiction to be pro-life with the military but pro-abortion with unborn children? What is your reasoning?

dave

Many believe the biggest threat to our country is not the economy, nor terrorism, but a government "of the dollar, by the dollar, and for the dollar". Recent supreme court action has aggravated this situation.

#1. What will you do to get big money out of elections?

#2. Name your three biggest donors...

Natalie

I'd like to know why a man who owns a 5,800 sqft house on 5 acres in Apex located an office on Foster St in Durham. Is Durham good enough to work in but not good enough to live in?

Actually though, I'd like to know how Lawson reconciles his claims that a larger federal government inhibits small businesses from thriving and limits innovation with the seemingly succesfful sale of his small business MecuryMD to Thompson Reuters in 2006?

Joseph Puckett

And you think Congressman Price hasn't enriched himself over the 20 odd years he's been in congress? Lawson is an honorable man who has earned his home through smart, hard work. My wife works voluntarily at that little office on Foster St. We think it wise to keep campaign expenses down by using such humble space. I don't know how large Mr. Price's home is, that is none of my business (I'm not into class envy); however, I'd suspect his campaign digs are somewhat more palatial, considering from whence cometh much of his support.

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