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By Ramsey Scott
Wyoming Tribune Eagle-WNE 

Four U.S. House candidates face off in debate

 

October 19, 2018



CHEYENNE — The four candidates competing for Wyoming’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives took to the airwaves Tuesday night to convince voters they should be heading to Washington, D.C.

The wide-ranging debate, hosted by Wyoming PBS, featured Republican incumbent Rep. Liz Cheney, Democrat Greg Hunter, Libertarian Richard Brubaker and Constitution Party candidate Daniel Cummings.

Cheney is running for her second two-year term in the House. She has a sizable lead over her three challengers when it comes to her campaign war chest, holding a more than $580,000 lead over Hunter as of the last campaign finance reporting.

Historical momentum is also on Cheney’s side when it comes to the Republican winning streak for the seat. Ever since Cheney’s father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, won election as Wyoming’s representative in 1979, the seat has remained in Republican hands.

HEALTH CARE

Whether the government should ensure people don’t go bankrupt dealing with necessary medical care allowed all four candidates to espouse on their governing philosophy.

Cummings viewed any governmental involvement in health care as a complete violation of the United States Constitution and the root of the issues within medicine.

“There’s no constitutional provision for personal assistance in Medicare or medical care of any sort,” Cummings said. “When Medicare was created some 50 years ago, the president promised it was a $1-billion-a-year program. He was dead wrong. It was 10 times that from the beginning.”

Hunter praised the work of former President Barack Obama to provide access to health care. He said the federal government should use its buying power to help lower the cost of medical services and prescription drugs.

“We need to expand Medicaid coverage in Wyoming so people can go to work without feeling like they will be bankrupt,” Hunter said. “We need to make sure to use the power of the federal government to reduce those costs and unleash market forces.”

Cheney said the issues of rising costs and less access to medical care in Wyoming were a direct result of the Affordable Care Act. She touted her work in the House to repeal the ACA, and her work with President Donald Trump to repeal the individual mandate, which was included in the tax cut bill.

“The best way to make sure that people can get the best medical care is to put people back in the driver’s seat,” Cheney said. “(The work we did in the House) is the type of thing we have to get passed in the Senate and make sure people can be back in control.”

Brubaker said the country should move toward a model like he witnessed in Colombia. He described a government program to provide basic health care for a monthly rate, depending on the country’s budget, and another health-care system completely free of government regulation.

“So much of (medical) bills go to regulation,” Brubaker said. “Remove government from our health-care system and let us pay the $30 a month premium for family health care like they do in South America.”

GENDER PAY GAP

Only one candidate, Hunter, believed that there was a systemic issue with women receiving less money than their male counterparts, suggesting an increase in pay for public school teachers would help lessen the divide.

Cheney said the issue wasn’t a federal issue and when one takes a deep dive into the statistics, seasonal work helped to skew the numbers. She said the issue has been exacerbated for political gain by Democrats.

Cummings said there was no reason the federal government should be involved in how much people make and the statistics around the issue were shaky. He said any gap was a reflection of “social values.”

Brubaker said he hasn’t seen an issue with women making less in his work, including as a trucker. He said the issue could be tied to the fact that “many of our family values dictate the gap.”

HATE CRIMES AND DISCRIMINATION

Cheney used the topic of whether hate-crime laws also applied to discrimination based on sexual orientation to talk about the need for more originalist judges to be named to the courts. She said it was important that Congress not add additional rights to the Constitution.

While Brubaker believed that the civil rights laws in the 1960s were necessary at the time, he said those need to be repealed now, since the issue had passed. He said when someone was hired due to their race or sexual orientation, it angered other employees.

Hunter said it was imperative that protections be extended to people to ensure everyone has the ability to pursue life, liberty and happiness. He viewed the role of the United States Supreme Court as one that should protect the rights of those who have historically been discriminated against.

Cummings said the biggest discriminators in the United States were the various local and federal governments in the country. He said government quotas and favoritism were morally wrong, and private businesses should have the right to make any decision they want to when it comes to hiring and firing.

 
 

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