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Republican candidates for congress and local offices addressed voters at The Oldham Debates April 25.
The Oldham, Henry and Trimble county Republican parties hosted the debate at Oldham County High School, with more than 350 in attendance.
While focused on the race for the 4th Congressional District, the forum also gave candidates running for state senate, commonwealth’s attorney and Oldham County Circuit Court Clerk an opportunity to introduce themselves and address voters. More information about those candidates will be in next week’s edition of The Oldham Era.
Most of the event was devoted to the seven republican congressional candidates seeking the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Geoff Davis, a four-term Republican congressman. Davis said he is not running for another term because he wants to devote more time to his family.
Oldham County residents Walt Schumm and Brian Oerther are both in the crowded field. Schumm is a board of education member and a builder/developer. Oerther is a math teacher at an alternative school in Jefferson County.
Other candidates include Sparta attorney Marc Carey, Lewis County Judge-Executive Thomas Massie, Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore, State Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington and Kenton County consultant Tom Wurtz.
Each candidate received four minutes to introduce themselves before moving into the debate segment.
Radio talk show Joe Elliot and TV news reporter Chris Turner moderated the forum.
Questions were submitted by voters and compiled into a list by forum organizers.
Turner randomly selected questions and two candidates to answer each. Each candidate answered two questions.
Several issues before the U.S. Supreme Court were addressed in the debate, including health care reform and illegal immigration.
Other questions concerned reducing the nation’s debt, tax reform, international defense and the Patriot Act.
Candidates mostly agreed with each other on during questioning, including repealing “Obamacare” and reducing corporate taxation.
However, when Moore and Wurtz addressed entitlement spending like social security and Medicare/Medicaid, a difference arose.
Moore said he believed the government needs to honor its commitment to seniors through social security but reform other areas, like regulatory groups, to cut spending.
Wurtz said he believes the federal government has no role in retirement or health care and should end social security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Candidates had a brief period for final statements which included addressing any debate questions not directed to them.
Oldham GOP vice-chair and District 5 Magistrate JD Sparks helped organized the event and said he is pleased with the turnout.
“I wanted to have all 600 seats filled, but our goal was to have it be one that the candidates felt was worth their time,” he said, adding that he believes candidates found participate in the event to be worthwhile.
Sparks said he wished more time could have been spent on the debate portion but time constraints limited them.
More information about the candidates running in the May 22 primary election will be featured in next week’s edition of The Oldham Era.