Cloud and Dicks debate in Sequim

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Congressman Norm Dicks faced his Republican challenger Doug Cloud at a debate hosted by the League of Women Voters of Clallam County this afternoon at the Sequim Community Church.

The sanctuary was almost full and despite ground rules laid out before the debate began, the audience had no qualms about making their opinions known. At one point the moderator, Cathy Claney, threatened to end the debate because of the jeers, boos and deriding laughter produced by members of the audience while Dicks responded to questions. At the end of the debate a woman stood up and shouted at Dicks, demanding to know why he hadn’t debated Cloud in Bremerton and if he would. As she shouted, she was ushered out of the sanctuary by event organizers.

Dicks voiced his support for a bipartisan infrastructure bill to put money into building better roads, bridges, trails and wastewater treatment plants, which will create jobs, he said.

“Building trails three or four people will walk on won’t create lasting jobs,” Cloud responded.
Cloud said he supports extending the Bush tax cuts and believes ending them would hamper small business owners.

“I don’t know why people are so jealous of success,” he said.

Dicks said he supports continuing the tax cuts on 98 percent of Americans as passed by President Obama but the top 2 percent of earners need to share more of the burden.

“If we are serious about the national debt, we can’t keep on doing what the Republicans do, which is cut taxes without paying for it,” Dicks said.

On the subject of health care, Cloud said the recently passed health care bill should be repealed. Cloud said he thinks the bill will lead to rationing of health care, especially for the elderly, and coercion of physicians, ultimately making them become government employees.

Dicks said Olympic Medical Center will benefit from the bill through federal payments. Under the bill, 32 million Americans will be insured who weren’t before, and no one will lose their insurance because of it, he said.

The candidates were asked about their stance on privatizing Social Security.

Cloud said he would support privatization of Social Security for younger generations but not for those already receiving Social Security payments.

“Some people need to take what they’re giving Social Security, which is around 15 percent, and put  it aside,” he said.

Dicks said he supports the existing system with the caveat that it can be improved.

He doesn’t want to put people’s futures in the hands of the stock market, which is risky, he said.

The candidates did agree on one thing: Neither supports a state income tax.

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