District 82 Candidate Forum with Senate Candidate Dave Weldon

Last evening’s joint event with Palm Beach County Tea Party and South Florida 912, kicked off with a visit by Senate candidate Dave Weldon.

Dr. David Weldon

A late entry to the race, Dr. Weldon is a seven term Congressman from the Space Coast who is a match for front runner Connie Mackin experience and policy knowledge, if not in family name.

Weldon did a good job of hitting the right policy notes with this audience. As a member of the “Contract with America” freshman led by Newt Gingrich in 1994, he was proud of their accomplishments, including shutting down the government when necessary. He seeks to repeal Obamacare, institute medical savings accounts, bring down the cost of gasoline to jump start the economy, and develop Wyoming’s oil shale where we have more reserves than anywhere in the world. He would like to see us withdraw from the UN, close the Department of Education, repeal Dodd-Frank which is hurting small banks, and fight Agenda 21.

He was warmly received, and combines the easygoing manner of a family doctor (which he is) with that of a hardened legislator. By next week we will know if it is enough to overcome the Connie Mack juggernaut.

Florida House District 82 Forum

In the main event, WJNO radio host Brian Muddmoderated a forum with the five Republican candidates for House District 82 which includes parts of Jupiter and Tequesta, and most of Martin County.

In the first question, the candidates were asked if they support Governor Scott in refusing the federal money to expand Medicaid as dictated by Obamacare. All would support the Governor, but Carl Domino really “gets it” and sees the medicare portion of the Supreme Court decision as a key opportunity for the states. John Pasqualone sees things in Obamacare he likes though, and would work to reach consensus.

The second question asked how they would reform immigration. Most agreed that immigration is a federal issue and progress is difficult as long as the Obama administration will not enforce the laws. Both Domino and Pasqualone (H2A) favored guest worker programs as necessary response.

The third question concerned the problems with Citizen’s Insurance. There was consensus that Citizens has grown too big and risky and many prefer restoring a private insurance market. Only Carl Domino pointed out that Citizens was formed precisely because the private sector saw too much risk and withdrew. Calvin Turnquest would require insurers who provide auto insurance to also insure homes.

Next up was expansion of Gambling in the state. Views differed on this subject. Mary Lynn Magar sees the state as “family friendly” and would rather focus on Biotech than gambling. Calvin Turnquest would let the local citizens decide. Jonathan Milton thinks the concept of “destination resort” does not make sense in a state with many other attractions and would not favor expansion, nor would John Pasqualone. Carl Domino points out that we have gambling already and it is limited with the Indian pact, which is up for renewal in 2015. He favors a citizen vote on the issue.

Finally they were asked what they saw as the biggest problem in the state. Carl Domino sees the need for high paying jobs and insurance reform. Calvin Turnquest sees protection from federal mandates and the promotion of tourism. Jonathan Milton sees the poor economy and the need for more money in the budget. John Pasqualone sees polarized government and a need to talk to each other. Mary Lynn Magar sees the need for jobs and believes that government can’t create them but can surely kill them through over regulation.

My Net:

By far, Carl Domino was the most familiar with the substance and politics of the issues, as you would expect for someone who spent 8 years as a legislator. By comparison, some of the others struggled with answers or confused state and federal issues. If the election is about competence and experience, he is the obvious choice. If it is about a changing of the guard, trying something new in Tallahassee, then not so much. After many years of questionable results from our Republican Majority, some would prefer a set of fresh faces.

Of the others, John Pasqualone has spent time in Tallahassee as a lobbyist for the Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association, and is the closest to Domino’s knowledge and experience in the ways of the capital. His emphasis on compromise and reluctance to oppose Obamacare outright differentiates him from the field.

Mary Lynn Magar champions small business, opposes excessive regulations and espouses conservative principles. She gives the impression that she would put the needs of her district first.

Calvin Turnquest emphasized his immigrant roots, pride in America, and the desire to give something back. Of the five, he is the most concerned with protecting the physical environment and its importance for tourism.

Jonathan Milton, the engineer of the group, seeks to solve problems. He was the only one who recognized that if Citizen’s is the insurer of last resort, the premiums are too low. Attracting private insurers means stopping unfair competition.

Also present at the meeting were Tom Paterno, Mayor of Tequesta, Fran Hancock and Cindy Tindell, candidates for GOP State Committeewoman, Dan Amero and Hal Valeche, candidates for County Commission District 1, and Christina Jax, candidate for School Board District 1.

Some pictures from the event:

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