By Alex Pagliano, Upstate Politics
For the viewers who turned in on FLTV or streamed the debate live online, or better yet attended tonight’s debate at Canandaigua Academy, the positions of both candidates refined a little as a wide-ranging variety of subjects were brought before both candidates on the ballot, Matt Zeller (D-Victor) and Tom Reed (R-Corning), to answer. From infrastructure to health-care reform, the takes from both candidates are listed below (Note: You’ll see that on the economy is not listed below. Why? Because each component drives into what makes our economy flow and then you can make your own independent decision on where you stand):
Reed: Reed states that roads, sewers, and other municipal properties that are old and deteriorating must become one of our focal points moving forward. He listed this as one of his top two issues on his agenda, in large part because this puts local contractors and the unemployed back to work.
Zeller: Zeller supports infrastructure to repair roads, sewers, and other common problems that need renovations like Mr. Reed does. Against Mr. Reed, he supports funding for high-speed rail, which he attributes benefits to both shipping our goods to different markets faster and allow people to quickly reach destinations.
On Health-Care Reform:
Zeller: Zeller states that he would have not voted in favor of the health-care reform bill, but argues that since the bill is in place, that we should keep the statutes that everyone agrees on; making sure pre-existing conditions are not denied by insurance companies, healthcare for kids up to their mid twenties, and closing the loopholes for seniors with their finances in terms of healthcare. Rather than repeal it, Zeller supports keeping them and making amends to the portions that people disagree with.
Reed: Reed supports repealing what he calls “Obamacare” due to the large deficit it would take on our national debt and his support of limited government. He does favor purchasing insurance across state lines, which would force competition and eventually lower rates. This statement is also echoed by Zeller.
On the 2001 “Bush” Tax Cuts:
Zeller: Zeller only supports it for people making under $250,000 and cites constituent support that they would be willing to chip in the extra two percent to help the “little guy”.
Reed: Reed supports extending the tax cuts for all, based on the sole fact that we should not pick and choose who receives higher taxes and whose taxes should remain the same.
On Campaign Finance Reform:
Reed: Reed stands for full disclosure on where all money is coming from for contributions to each respective politician. This would be quite helpful in dealing with situations in where people are wondering in such instances where the US Chamber of Commerce has compiled it’s stash of money to compile attack advertisements. It is known via the FEC that Reed has taken money from large corporations, as well.
Zeller: Zeller acknowledges that the FCC leases time on the airwaves to private corporations and feels that each candidate should get ample time on the airwaves because sometimes the people who are best at raising money are not the best at governing. He believes that anybody who receives the number of signatures required should have an ample opportunity to get air time based because not everyone will rely on doing their homework; sometimes TV ads are the best way to get their message across. As opposed to Reed, Zeller has not taken a dime from any major corporation.
On Jobs being shipped overseas:
Zeller: Zeller criticized Reed for taking money from the Sutherland Group, a principal group that exports jobs to China. He acknowledges that there is a 26% unemployment rate and there needs to be good paying jobs created right here in this district by bringing in green energy and economic development by giving a two year social security holiday for small businesses and punishing companies that send jobs overseas by eliminating the tax breaks.
Reed: Reed acknowledges that this is a problem and has vehemently came out against outsourcing jobs after multiple jabs by Zeller about how he has plans of outsourcing jobs. In his campaign commercials and media, you’ll see he supports a $2500 per new worker tax break, which would be one way to create jobs here.
On Green Energy:
Reed: Reed supports this as a way to create jobs, and expanding off of green energy, he also added that he is in favor of nuclear and other forms of energies. He acknowledges these jobs would bring good paying jobs to this district. He supports the “all the above” approach.
Zeller: Zeller claims that this is the “industrial revolution” of the 21st century and that with the global demand of clean energy coming around the world, we have the chance to seize the opportunities here to become a super-power in economics. He also believes that this would strengthen our national security as well, relieving our dependence on countries overseas where the money goes to people who may not necessarily like us.
On the Veterans Academies in the 29th District:
Reed: He overwhelmingly supports the VA’s, stating them as places to create jobs and provide much needed services to the Veterans. He would support this in funding, stating his two top issues were defense and infrastructure.
Zeller: Zeller also overwhelmingly supports the VA and believes that the Canandaigua VA should become a full-service hospital. He also notes that more must be done to help Veterans coming home, citing all they want to come home to is employment, social security, and healthcare.
Zeller: Zeller does not support charter schools because he has the confidence in the public education system to return to a form when he went through the system. He proposes to eliminate NCLB because it stresses teachers to teach to the test that are mandated by regulations.
Reed: Reed supports charter schools because he has the confidence in the parent’s right to choose where they send their children to school. He, like Zeller, proposes to eliminate NCLB because it stresses teachers to teach to the test that are mandated by regulations.
On Hydrofracking/Marcellus Shale Drilling:
Reed: Reed is in favor of this project as long as it remains safe and feels it’s an opportunity to create jobs in the district.
Zeller: Zeller is completely opposed, citing failures in Pennsylvania, citing the radioactive materials that could potentially contaminate drinking water, the process of drilling being tedious on infrastructure, and the people who get these jobs to his knowledge aren’t from this district – they’re from the south.
On College Affordability:
Zeller: Zeller supports the Friedman plan (it is noted that Friedman was Reagan’s top economic advisor), which would tax students at a higher rate until they release their burden of the student loans. He states that in this, people could go out and have the opportunities to make innovative things happen, and states that if someone was burdened in loans like an innovator like Steve Jobs, we might not have Apple today.
Reed: Reed completely disagrees with that stance, sticking to his guns of conservative policy that Friedman’s plan would only add more to the government to run, and cost money to maintain, and eventually put the government in charge of higher education.
On Stem Cell Research/Development:
Reed: Reed supports stem-cell research and development, and maintains a “pro-life” stance on abortion.
Zeller: Zeller is also in agreement of stem-cell research and development.
On Immigration (Specifically on SB1070 in Arizona):
Zeller: Zeller does not support amnesty, and would punish companies that hire illegal immigrants with stiffer fines and penalties and then on top of that, go to Washington and push for reform so the federal government can do its job effectively.
Reed: Reed also does not support amnesty, and believes that the Federal Government had failed its duty to help Arizona and they had no other choice but to enforce this policy.
On Legalizing Marijuana:
Reed: Reed believes it’s a states right issue to deal with, but overall opposes marijuana for recreational use like in California. For medicinal purposes, there might be some worth.
Zeller: Zeller believes it’s a purely states right issue like Mr. Reed does, as well.
Note: We are in contact with write-in candidate Janice Volk’s campaign. We plan to interview her on all the issues that were addressed at tonight’s debate in part to offer voters the educated decision regardless of finances or ability to spread the message. This blog serves as an open forum for all that want to and intend on receiving votes, and frankly, we’re proud of that; nothing represents a democracy more than the voter’s right to make an educated decision.
Note 2: Addressing the whole how to vote twice controversy and how to fill in a write in campaign, we’ll go over it. The first box you will see is the unexpired term; fill in the oval for either Zeller or Reed, or go to the bottom and write in Volk. The winner of this would serve out the remainder of the term that is unexpired from former representative Eric Massa’s term. The row next to it serves the same purpose in terms of how to vote, however the winner of that would receive the full two year term that most candidates are running for across the country.
Note 3: For those of the Canandaigua students that attended the debate, kudos to you. If the younger demographic ever gets engaged in politics like you well represented tonight, our democracy will only grow stronger, and as a result, our government will, too.
Feel free to weigh-in, below.