District 10 Great Debate by Nancy Morgan

08/11/06

Lead: Fewer than 200 people, mostly supporters of the candidates, showed up at Riverview High School Thursday evening for what was billed as “the District 10 Great Debate� for the State Senate seat. Our reporter, Nancy Morgan, was there.

Hillsborough County District 10 is huge. It stretches from, Zephyrhills, south to Sun City Center. Its eastern boundary cuts through several counties and juts out into Lakeland. It borders Temple Terrace and St. Petersburgh on the western side. Three Republicans, Ronda Storms, Sandy Murman, and Ray Young are competing against each other in the Sept. 5th primary to become the candidate to face lone Democrat Stephen Gorham in the November election. All the candidates, except for Ronda Storms, were on hand for the debate. Opening statements began with Stephen Gorham who highlighted his military service.

Sound: Gorham

Next, Sandy Murman touted her experience as a State Representative.

Sound: Murman

Last with his opening statement, Ray Young said that his business experience would make him most qualified to be a State Senator.

Sound: Young

The candidates did not differ much on their positions during the question and answer period. All said they support upgrading public transportation for Hillsborough County. All supported making the FCAT exam less important in determining the fate of Florida’s schools. When asked about the homeowner’s insurance crisis, all agreed that it needed a new approach. Questions about hot-button issues like abortion and the law against gays being able to adopt children produced some interesting answers. Murman and Young, both conservative Republicans, gave predictable answers. Both want laws that would limit or outlaw abortion and both said that gays should not be allowed to adopt children. Democrat Gorham’s answers, however, surprised some supporters. First, he said how he felt about gay adoption.

Sound: Gorham

On the issue of abortion, Gorham again surprised, but then tried to take the spotlight off of the issue.

Sound: Gorham

Each candidate pledged never to raise taxes, and each touted their religious faith as important to how they would conduct business as a State Senator. After the debate concluded, people gathered in groups to discuss what they had heard. Cliff Roberts was not swayed.

Sound: Roberts

Gorham supporter Karl Crossen voiced a similar view.

Sound: Crossen

However, Yvonne Wheating was surprised at what she had heard.

Sound: Wheating

The debate will air at 11 a.m. Sunday on Bay News 9. This is Nancy Morgan reporting for WMNF News.

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