Candidates in the 24th Congressional District race face off in a debate co-sponsored by YNN and the Campbell Public Affairs Institute at Syracuse University. Republican Incumbent Ann Marie Buerkle, Democrat Dan Maffei, and Green Party Candidate Ursula Rozum are vying for the seat. Buerkle and Rozum took part in our debate. Maffei turned us down, citing concerns over the open discussion format we chose. Our Katie Gibas brings us the highlights of the two-way discussion.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- As Republican incumbent Ann Marie Buerkle and Green Party Candidate Ursula Rozum took their places in the studio, the podium YNN left open for Dan Maffei remained empty. The debate went on, an open discussion of three main topics. The first, how to reduce the nation's deficit.
"Progressive tax rates similar to the Eisenhower rates, back then we had over a dozen tax brackets and the rich paid their fare share. And we didn't have this kind of crisis. In the 50s, corporate taxes made up a third of the federal budget, now they only make up 10 percent of the federal budget," said Ursula Rozum, the Green Party Candidate.
Ann Marie Buerkle, (R) Incumbent Congresswoman said, "We need to extend the tax rates we've seen with Coolidge, with Kennedy with Reagan with Bush. When we reduce taxes, the economy gets back on its feet and we grow the economy and that's how we're going to address this debt and this deficit. We can't cut our way out of it. We can't tax our way out of it."
The second topic was foreign policy, specifically addressing the buildup of nuclear weapons in Iran. Buerkle supports harsher sanctions and potential military intervention is Iran continues to build their nuclear weapons. Rozum does not.
"I talk about peace through strength that we respect other nations and their beliefs but when there's oppression and human rights violations, then we need to look at it an make a decision about whether to intervene or not," said Buerkle.
Rozum said, "With a fraction of our budget, we could be the humanitarian superpower of the world, cover things like education, preventative health care and sanitation for people in developing countries, which I think would go a long way in terms of making friends rather than enemies."
Finally Buerkle and Rozum laid out their plans for economic growth. Buerkle supports having a long-term plan that includes investing in hydro-fracking, nuclear power, drilling U.S. oil reserves and investing in infrastructure. Rozum wants to promote job creation through green energy technology and public works programs.
"The crisis right now is that people are out of work. We're over indebted, and we just don't have money. And so the best way to guarantee certainty in the economy is to make sure working people have money to spend. that would signal to private business that they can spend and that would signal to private business that they can invest in new plants, new producing and hiring," said Rozum.
Buerkle said, "I've been endorsed by the National Association of Manufacturers, by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, by the National Federation of Independent businesses. I think it's an indication that America's job creators have endorsed me. I believe they know how to create jobs and that we can work together to do that."
Voters will weigh in on the candidates as they cast their ballots November 6th.