Tea Party and 9-12 Group Host Candidate Forum in Taxpayer-Funded Space
Last night, the Tampa Tea Party and the Tampa Nine-Twelve Project held a town hall meeting at the same Ybor City site as last yearâs now infamous town hall discussion on health care. U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor led that meeting at the taxpayer-funded Children's Board headquarters before it devolved into chaos. But yesterdayâs panelists, all of whom want to unseat her, addressed a mellower crowd about where they think Castor and other Washington Democrats have gone wrong.
We have representatives who are not representing anybody. The people that they are representing definitely donât live in this congressional district. âCause this was called the âCigar City,â and the representative from the Cigar City is responsible for taxing Hav-A-Tampa Cigar into extinction.
That was Eddie Adams, one of three Republicans at the event vying for Castorâs District 11 seat. He has lost to Castor in two previous elections. Adams was referring to a tobacco tax that Castor supported, which the Hav-A-Tampa Cigar Company blames for its 2009 closure. He later said he wants to see major cuts in the federal government, and would push for axing offices like the U.S. Department of Education.
Itâs redundant, and itâs not effective. That should be a state and local issue, education. We can also get rid of the Department of Homeland Security, because we went 200-some years without it, and we were safe up until now, and it is something that can be eliminated. We can also get rid of the Department of Energy, considering that their primary function and job from the very beginning was to make us independent of foreign oil and energy sources.
The event was much less a health care forum than a way for District 11 hopefuls to paint Castor as a tax-and-spend liberal who doesnât care about her district. In his attempt at this, Republican Tony Buntyn conjured images of the other Bay Area.
This is not San Francisco Bay, the land of Nancy Pelosiâs. This is Tampa Bay. We have different values. But Iâm afraid that Ms. Castor has adopted the values of Nancy Pelosi. Sheâs the ninth most liberal member of Congress. I donât think that reflects the views, and goals, of this community.
One Democrat sat on the panel. Tim Curtis, who calls himself a Constitutional Democrat, is reportedly the first âtea partyâ Democrat to run for Congress. He said the recently-passed health care overhaul, in which Castor is a key player, is unconstitutional.
Iâm not an attorney, but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express. It takes only a cursory reading of the Constitution to understand that the intent behind the Commerce Clause, to understand that this is exactly the opposite of what our Founding Fathers intended when they constructed the Commerce Clause.
Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum is citing the U.S. Constitutionâs âCommerce Clauseâ as key grounds for his lawsuit against the federal government over the legislation, though many legal experts disagree. Curtis was not alone in his criticism of health care reform. Republican Thomas Castellano called the reform a âdisaster.â
We have a right to choose. And whenever you take somebodyâs away, right to choose away, prices go up. It will enable to benefit the insurance companies to now be saying, âYou will have insurance, and you will buy it from us. The doctors and the pharmaceutical companies are going to make a lot of money. So basically the people they were trying to protect us against benefited.
Republican Tony Buntyn agreed.
We need to tweak the system, not kill it and start over. We need portability across state lines, and we need better access.
There were few differences among the candidates on nearly every question asked, including those on closing national borders and abolishing corporate taxes â both, of course, garnered a resounding yes. The four also concurred on the controversial prospect of oil and gas exploration in Floridaâs waters. Castellano invoked several Cold War bogeymen in his response to a question on the issue.
Cuba has made deals with Russia and China to drill off their coasts, and theyâre going to be fifty miles off the coast of Florida â¦ You know, the Vietnamese are going to be in the gulf, and we have the Mexicans drilling in the gulf also. So yes, we should be drilling for oil.
Democrat Tim Curtis said offshore rigs in other states actually have recreational value.
Iâm a scuba diver. I enjoy scuba diving off of the rigs off of Louisiana. Itâs great spear-fishing. Itâs great fishing around the oil rigs.
Tony Buntyn, another Republican, strayed slightly from the Tea Party line when he said it needs to be done in conjunction with development of alternative energy sources.
We have to incentivize those corporations who are going to do the explorationâso that along with harvesting what are our natural resources, the oil and the natural gas, the aim would be also to have good reason to continue development on new energy sources, renewable energy sources. I donât think thereâs anyone in here who would disagree with the idea that solar energy would be a good thing. If we can develop solar energy and deliver it to a grid, where it makes sense, and it doesnât put somebody under when they have to pay their power bill, I think everyone would agree that thatâs a good thing.
Although the candidate forum featured four District 11 hopefuls, there were actually seats at the table. The two vacant seats were clearly marked Kathy Castor and Mike Prendergast, Republican newcomer who is also running. Although the Tea Party has reportedly been gaining steam in its campaign to unseat Democrats and moderate Republicans in Washington, many experts say Castor should enjoy an easy re-election in Tampaâs heavily-Democratic District 11. The primary will take place in August.comments powered by Disqus