The Edmond Sun

State News

July 17, 2012

District 2 candidates disagree over issues

CLAREMORE — District 2 Congressional GOP candidates George Faught and Markwayne Mullin continue to discuss their opponent’s flaws instead of the issues.

During the live debate Monday evening hosted by Rogers State University, the candidates attempted to answer questions regarding healthcare, legislation, immigration, foreign defense and the Tulsa Port of Catoosa.

However, their focus on the issues was limited, as each took an opportunity to attack the other.

The debate was likely the last opportunity for voters to see the candidates speak live on television before the Aug. 28 Runoff Election.

Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb moderated the event and had to control the crowd on multiple occasions due to outbursts from campaign supporters.

Mullin won the coin toss and elected to have Faught open the event.

Faught spoke about the serious issue that the country is currently facing, which he never clearly explained.

“I think the citizens of the 2nd District deserve to have someone who is proven, someone who is conservative and someone they can trust.”

Mullin began the evening by explaining he got in the race because he was “fed up.”

“If we are really going to make a change we have to send a different type of person up there,” Mullin said.

The debate quickly turned negative after the opening statements.

Candidates were asked about the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Faught stated he wanted to focus on free market based system that maintains patient/doctor relationships.

Mullin focused on the government involvement with the issue.

“Every time the government gets involved they mess it up worse,” Mullin said. “There is a whole host of solutions, but government is not it.”

Mullin did not provide a specific example on how to fix the healthcare law.

Later, Faught attacked Mullin’s knowledge of the healthcare law citing a resent quote by Mullin that he was “too busy” to learn about healthcare exchanges.

The attacks between the two men continued throughout the 30-minute debate.

The candidates were also asked about the Tulsa Port of Catoosa and how they would secure or generate funding to help make the changes needed to increase its development.

However, neither of the candidates spoke about how they would secure the funding needed to deepen the port from 9 to 12 feet.

They only explained that it needed to be drudged, once again not addressing the root question of how to fund such a project.

Mullin continued to state that the issue with the port was due to regulations and the protection of “some fish.”

The project has been stalled due to a lack of funding and port officials report that approximately $180 million would be needed for the project.

Tulsa Port of Catoosa Authority Chairman David Page said during a recent State of the Port Address, “We have been working to get this to be a priority at the federal level for four to five years, but the challenge at the federal level is finding money.”

The candidates did not address this root cause of the port’s problem and simply redefined the need for drudging.

As the debate continued the candidates focused less on the answers and more on campaigning.

No real solutions were given on any issue including immigration and legislative reform.

Faught explained that his legislative experience does provide more insight into the issues and he provided examples including the state of Oklahoma’s immigration legislation.

Mullin focused his response on amnesty stating it is not the solution.

The personal attacks were primarily focused on the second round of questioning when the candidates had the opportunity to ask each other questions.

Mullin began by asking Faught to sign a pledge to stop negative attacks, then he followed this by attacking George on multiple issues.

Faught responded by explaining that candidates should be properly vetted and that the people deserve to know the truth of their candidates’ backgrounds.

At one point Mullin responded to a question by saying, “we learn by admitting our mistakes.”

Yet no admission was made as the attacks continued.

“I think someone’s own words mean something, when they say something, this is running for Congress,” Faught said.

Mullin’s response to the attacks included statements including “this is politics as usual” and that Faught is “choosing to lie” and do whatever it takes to get elected.”

The final round of questioning focused on the candidates plan to be effective if elected.

Faught explained his legislative experience would be the foundation for his success.

Mullin focused on his knowledge of “living the issues” and experiencing them first hand.

Mullin explained that he will “be himself” and that he represents the people of the district.

Faught said he has proven that he represents the district and can be elected by the Democrats as he has for three terms in a Democrat’s district.

“There is an obvious clear difference between me and my opponent,” Mullin said.

Faught and Mullin were asked what is the greatest foreign threat to the United States, and what should be done to neutralize it?

Their responses again did not completely answer the question.

Faught stated the breakdown of family values and radical Islam were the greatest threats.

“We have to make sure we have strong families,” Faught said. “I think that is the biggest threat and it is solved through education.”

Mullin responded by saying, “We are our biggest threat, because we are too busy being politically correct.”

The candidates concluded focusing on their differences.

Faught again explained that voters should research and know the candidates.

“We want our candidate to be fully vetted,” Faught said. “This is too important to get wrong.”

“We have to change the type of people we send,” Mullin said.

A representative should know the issues because they have experienced them, he explained.

The debate was sponsored by RSU-TV, the Claremore Daily Progress and the Claremore Chamber of Commerce.

The entire debate will be made rebroadcast on the web at on 11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on July 20 and again at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on July 29.

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