One candidate spoke of preserving government’s role in providing services and resources to local residents. Another spoke of reducing government involvement in issues not clearly defined in the U.S. Constitution.
Candidates for the 32nd Congressional District Grace Napolitano (D-Sante Fe Springs) and Republican challenger David Miller discussed their mostly divergent viewpoints during Thursday’s Candidate Forum at the Citrus Valley Association of Realtors in Glendora.
The newly drawn district encompasses the southern portion of Glendora, as well as San Dimas, La Verne, Baldwin Park, Duarte, El Monte, Azusa, West Covina and a portion of Monrovia.
Miller, a Glendora resident who ran an unsuccessful Congressional bid as an Independent in 2010, maintained a strict and literal adherence to the Constitution. His views consistently clashed with Napolitano, incumbent representative for the 38th Congressional District, who favored Democrat-supported policies such as Obamacare.
Napolitano said she supported pro-education policies and providing services that would bolster an educated workforce, including providing affordable and accessible education to all children and college students.
“We need to make sure we can provide as much education to all of our children,” said Napolitano.. “Without an educated workforce or community we do not have the ability to prosper as well as we can.”
Miller, however, reduced the role of government in education, pointing to Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution.
“Education is not in the Constitution,” said Miller. “If you can find the role you are asking me to do in this document, I will do it. [As a representative] you hired me to do a job that I am legally bound to do.”
Again citing an absence in the Constitution, Miller argued that healthcare is not a government issue.
“I believe we have a responsibility as individual citizens to care for one another, not as a state, through-force taxation,” said Miller.
But Napolitano pointed to “cracks” in the current healthcare system, where patients with preexisting conditions are constantly refused medical coverage.
While she called the latest healthcare bill passed “long overdue,” she acknowledged that it was “imperfect.”
“Te bill that was passed is not final,” said Napolitano. “We need input from you the residents on where we need to tweak it.”
Bipartisanship was one of few topics Miller and Napolitano found common ground.
When pressed about her record in voting “along party lines,” Napolitano highlighted her bipartisan voting history. She said as the Chair for the Subcommittee for Water and Power she passed more Republican bills than her own Democratic party’s.
“I worked across the line because I needed to,” said Napolitano. “The effort is there, it depends on the people’s understanding that we need to become representatives not politicians. I bring services to our district. I get it done by working with people who can get it done.”
Miller also put less emphasis on an allegiance to political parties, instead focusing on personal and government values.
“My decisions are based on certain principles and those principles are not relevant to a political party,” said Miller. “Those principles are relevant to the founding document of our nation, which, again, legally I’m allowed to govern in.”
With questions of the nation’s future economy hanging in the balance, candidates were pressed on how they would eliminate a $16 trillion dollar deficit.
Napolitano pointed to cutting down on wasteful government spending by requiring every state agency to cut 10 to 15 percent. But she also urged the voters to be an active voice in offering input on budgetary policies.
“We are getting there slowly but surely,” said Napolitano.
Miller advocated an entire shift in governmental approach.
“Simply put we have to change the way we function and operate,” said Miller. And while he said an abrupt change would be disastrous to communities, he said government’s future goal should be a return to the original intent of the Constitution.