Representative Nancy Boyda could have stayed in Washington to talk about a massive market bailout, or come home to challenge her opponent in a one-hour debate in Topeka. She chose the latter last night. Boyda and GOP nominee Lynn Jenkins agreed on some issues, and disagreed on others before a live audience at Washburn University.
Their debate was broadcast on KTWU-TV.
Jenkins challenged Boyda on her decision, saying she "should have earned her keep" with other members of Congress in staying behind and negotiating a compromise market rescue plan before tonight's House vote. Boyda said she's been in contact by conference call with about 18 negotiators, and wondered if Jenkins would criticize her for "coming to Kansas for 36 hours to be part of this debate."
Boyda is leaving for Washington Thursday morning, in advance of tonight's decision.
Both generally agreed any new national energy policy should break America's grip on foreign oil, and promote alternate sources of energy that are abundant in Kansas, such as wind or solar energy.
Moderator Nick Haines asked them to discuss the decisions on fighting terror in Iraq or Afghanistan. Boyda questioned the Bush Administration's pre-emptive strike on Iraq, saying the fight should have been taken to Afghanistan. She urged the country to use diplomacy to rebuild U.S. relations within the world community, and would hesitate to commit troops to another conflict, saying our troop levels are "dangerously thin."
Jenkins said the world "is still safer without Saddam Hussein." She said that would not have happened without the votes to commit to the war. The Republican candidate said the troop surge is working (something Boyda agrees with) but the U.S. should take a serious look at military action in Afghanistan, after listening to the generals on the ground.
On immigration, Boyda said solutions are "doable," including employment verification and fixing the e-verify system to prove people are who they say they are. She would also push for beefed up border security and more detention beds in housing illegals.
Jenkins criticized Republicans and Democrats for "failing on immigration," and said fresh faces to get to work on a national verification database and tighter borders.
Taking an audience on health care, Jenkins said government run health care would be the "wrong approach," and would offer tax incentives to anyone buying their own portable health coverage. Jenkins is also a proponent of health savings accounts and going on-line to find the most affordable health care plans.
Nancy Boyda also wants transparency is shopping for health care, but said a huge problem in Washington is subsidies to giant pharmaceutical companies being deemed "untouchable" by the Bush Administration.
Boyda said she would work to take those subsidies out of the budget, and allow pharmacies to set any price they want.