Democrat, Libertarian focus on budget in 4th District debate

By Lindsey Erdody l ELLETTSVILLE – It was all about the money during the 4th Congressional District debate Tuesday night.

Democratic candidate David Sanders and Libertarian candidate John Duncan fielded questions on a variety of spending issues from a panel, each other and members of the audience at the Ellettsville branch of the Monroe County Public Library.

Sanders, who arranged for the debate, said he invited Republican candidate Todd Rokita to participate, but never heard a response.

“It’s not that he wasn’t invited. … He was invited to be a full participant and I would have been pleased if he was able to participate,” Sanders said.

During opening statements, Duncan started the money talk when he said the federal budget is why he decided to run for U.S. representative.

“The biggest issue to me right now is spending. We cannot spend that kind of money,” he said. “That’s what I represent.”

After the opening statements, panel members began their questions by raising concerns about military involvement overseas, but the issue boiled down to money as both Sanders and Duncan supported removing some troops, but doing so with caution. “I believe we should be rapidly winding down,” Sanders said. “I do not think the money has been spent appropriately.”

Duncan also discussed the military budget.

“A trillion dollars is a lot of money to spend on two wars,” he said. “I’m for pulling back. We’re not supposed to be the police of the world.”

Other budget issues related to job creation, campaign spending and reducing the country’s deficit.

“The No. 1 issue for people in this district is job creation, and they actually expect the government to do something about it,” Sanders said. “I anticipate the economy will return to a robust state in the next year or so.”

In terms terms of campaigning, Duncan said he refuses to accept contributions because that “causes trouble,” but Sanders was more lenient and only had rules about accepting money when he serves on specific committees.

As for reducing the budget deficit the country is facing, Duncan simply said he will cut spending and not raise taxes; Sanders discussed looking at all the departments and making cuts where necessary.

“We’re going to have to cut the spending; we’re going to have to do it intelligently,” Sanders said.

The recent health care bill was briefly discussed and was one of the few topics where the candidates disagreed. Duncan is in favor of repealing the bill, while Sanders is not, saying there were some positive outcomes of it.

In their final statements, Duncan said, “It’s our money that they’re wasting. I don’t want my grandchildren covering my bills.”

“I believe that if I could contact every voter in this district, then they would vote for me,” Sanders said during his closing comments. “Just like I’m working hard to earn people’s votes now, I’m going to work hard in Washington.”