CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Democrat and Republican nominees for Second District Congress got together for the first time in a head-to-head setting Thursday but it wasn’t called a debate. The West Virginia Business and Industry Council, who sponsored the event between Republican Alex Mooney and Democrat Nick Casey, stressed it was a forum for discussion.
The questions asked to both candidates were pre-written and Mooney and Casey got a look at them before the event got started Thursday morning at the Charleston Civic Center.
During open statements, Casey, a Kanawha County native and lawyer, made it clear he is not a strong supporter of President Barack Obama and would not be a Democratic puppet if he were to win the Nov. 4 election.
“Now I’m not a career politician. I have never run in one state let alone in three areas. I’m 60-years-old. I’m not going to Washington to make a political name for myself,” stressed the Democrat. “I’m going to Washington because, as my father used to say, ‘We have the greatest form of government in the history of the world.’ He’s right but we are testing that right now. I think it’s time we send in the adults, the experienced, responsible people who can go there and fix what’s wrong with our country.”
Mooney, who worked in Washington as a legislative analyst and then served 12 years in the Maryland State Senate, moved to West Virginia with his family a year and a half ago.
“I know I haven’t lived in West Virginia as long as my opponent. I’m proud to be a West Virginian by choice,” said Mooney. “My wife and I are raising our family here. We’re sending our children to school here. We want to make sure our children grow up in a state that is filled with opportunity.”
The first topic up for discussion was one both Casey and Mooney agreed on. The Democrat and Republican said programs like No Child Left Behind and Common Core must go and states need to be fully in charge of their education systems.
But when it comes to Obamacare, the two candidates are on opposing sides.
“I am adamantly opposed to Obamacare. I think we should repeal it completely. Unlike the last issue, this is an issue where my opponent and I disagree,” stated Mooney. “Obamacare has resulted in higher taxes, higher premiums and fewer jobs.”
While Casey does struggle with some issues within Obamacare, he says we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
“The reality is Obamacare is here. One hundred and thirty seven thousand, as of yesterday, uninsured, working West Virginians have obtained insurance because of the results of Medicare,” explained Casey.
Both candidates answered questions on the deficit, global warming, transportation, the EPA and the future of coal, all issues important to the business leaders gathered in the room.
In closing, Casey made it clear he wanted the business and industry vote in November.
“If you send me (to Washington), you know I’m dependable. You know I’m experienced. You know I’m competent. You know I’m accessible. And you know I don’t answer to anybody but West Virginians,” said Casey.
Mooney told those gathered it was time for a change in Congress and he’s the candidate to make that happen.
“West Virginia is an incredible state. Our citizens are hard working, industrious and creative,” stressed the Republican. “But right now the federal government is stifling our businesses and burdening our families.”
There are two other candidates running in the second district: Independent Ed Rabel and Libertarian Davy Jones.