NC-13 US House candidates differ on moral, governmental issues in debate

NC-13 US House candidates differ on moral, governmental issues in debate

By Harlan Brown
May 15, 2010
Added closing statements link May 16, 2010

Bill Randall and Bernie Reeves are both conservatives. They agree on a number of issues. However, Thursday night's debate between the two Republican runoff candidates for North Carolina's 13th District US House seat highlighted differences on moral issues and on priorities relating to the role of the federal government.

The debate was sponsored by the Northern Wake Republican Club. Linda Williams read the rules. The candidates did not know in advance what questions were to be asked. Bill LuMaye served as moderator.

Bill Randall and Bernie Reeves are the two remaining candidates in a runoff election to be held on June 22. The winner will compete against incumbent Brad Miller in the general election.

Abortion

When LuMaye asked about abortion, Reeves said, "I am dead set against public funding of abortion. I am absolutely for parental consent, and I am absolutely against partial-birth abortion." He added, however, that he believes the abortion issue in general should be decided state by state.

Randall said, "If we cannot protect the life of the innocent in the womb, what does that say for us as a nation? And as far as life is concerned, I believe it should be protected from conception to geriatric care and the elderly."

I asked Randall later, "Do you believe that every human being from the beginning of his or her biological development is a person with a God-given unalienable right to life?". He replied, "Yes."

I had previously e-mailed Reeves, seeking to learn his views on questions asked in a questionnaire from the North Carolina Family Policy Council (NCFPC). Answers to the questionnaire appear in the NCFPC's 2010 Primary Election Voter Guide. According to the NCFPC website, Reeves did not respond to the questionnaire. I have not received a response to the three e-mails that I sent him regarding NCFPC questions. For a sample of the questions and answers, see "Questions from the NCFPC" below.

How to avoid being corrupted

Later in the debate, LuMaye said, "It's been said that it can take anywhere from two weeks to two months for a newly elected candidate to become corrupt once arriving in DC. How are you prepared to prevent this from happening to you?"

Reeves replied that the people in Congress are "not people that I have any desire to impress. They're not people that I have any desire to gain social status with. I'm going to Congress because I'm upset. I think that America is in trouble."

Randall replied, "One thing and really only one thing: Keep my sole dependence on my Lord and not myself."

Priorities for cutting federal spending

The two candidates both agreed that federal spending needs to be cut. However, they differed in their priorities and philosophy regarding spending cuts.

Randall emphasized cutting the size of the federal government. "My premise and my position is for us to look to get rid of all inefficient and useless and redundant government that we have out there."

Reeves focused on cutting the salary and benefits of government employees. "Right now we're looking at federal government workers making 30% more for the same job than the private sector."

Summary of issues in the debate

The following table links to each candidate's website and compares the candidates' stands on some of the issues discussed in the debate:

Candidate1 Bernie Reeves Bill Randall
Securing our borders2ForFor
Repealing health care reform law2ForFor
Arizona's immigration law2ForFor
Tax policy3 Cut taxes, increase productivityFairTax; get rid of IRS
How to reduce government costs3 Cut government employees' salariesReduce the size of government
Roe v. Wade3AgainstAgainst
Right to life3Let each state decide Protect innocent life from conception
How to recover the economy4 Cut taxes Cut back the federal government;
reduce the corporate tax rate
Off-shore oil drilling4"I'm parking my judgment" For; work to prevent future oil spills
Second Amendment rights4ForFor
Judicial activism4AgainstAgainst
Tea Party Movement5ForFor
Iran's nuclear ambition5 "Have a strong policy ... Israel can help us" "Prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon"
Biggest threat to national security5 Obama, Pelosi, and Reid plus domestic terrorism Our economy ... trillions of dollars in debt
Should federal government regulate our schools?6 No. But it's not a simplistic situation. No. Eliminate the Department of Education; it is a failure.
Civilian courts trying foreign terrorists6 Against Against
Social spending6 Social welfare spending should be cut. Churches should do more; government should do less.
Support for Israel7ForFor
How to avoid becoming corrupt7 "The people in Congress ... are not people I have any desire to impress. ... I'm going to Congress because ... I think that America is in trouble." "One thing and really only one thing: Keep my sole dependence on my Lord and not myself"
Corporate bailouts7 For "if we get paid back with interest"Against
  1. Click a candidate's name to access the candidate's website.
  2. Debate Part 2
  3. Debate Part 3
  4. Debate Part 4
  5. Debate Part 5
  6. Debate Part 6
  7. Debate Part 7

In their own words

Here is a sample of three questions and answers from the debate:

Cutting spending

  • LuMaye: How do you plan to keep government costs down so that taxes will not be raised?
  • Randall: The thing that troubles me about the growth of government is people are talking about a balanced budget. That's not my premise at all. My premise and my position is for us to look to get rid of all inefficient and useless and redundant government that we have out there. By so doing, we're going to reduce the burden on the taxpayer. The only thing that the government is required to provide is for the common defense, and people are saying, "Well, you can't get rid of these agencies. You can't get rid of the Department of Energy." Oh yes we can. And we can certainly scale back—I don't want to get rid of the EPA; they're doing some good things, but there are a lot of things that they are overreaching in—and I would look to bring back their responsibilities to where they are serving the people and not the other way around. So I would first look to reduce the needless, frivolous, redundant government that is burdening the taxpayer, and then get rid of the regulations that are shackling our businesses.
  • Reeves: Again, that's nice work if you can get it. I mean, you're going to end this and do that. I mean, let's be specific. I mean, if we're going to do anything, we do what any business does. Anyone in this room knows that we cut salaries. Right now we're looking at federal government workers making 30% more in the same job than the private sector. We're looking at a difference of $9,000 a year in retirement benefits to private sector workers to 40% to federal workers. This is where anybody knows something's gotta be done. Already in the state of North Carolina they can't seem to find out why all these people are making $100,000 on retirement when they made half that much when they worked at state government. That's where anyone here in business knows we've got to start. Now, I'd love to get rid of the IRS. I'd love to get rid of the programs. I'd love to get rid of government. That's where I would go and start working, and it would be salaries.

Pro-life

  • LuMaye: Are you pro-life, and what does pro-life mean to you?
  • Reeves: Well, I can tell you this: I'm as far away from Brad Miller as you can get, I think, I mean, who thinks of abortion as birth control and wants to use it for demographical research and sex selection. I will say this right much: I am dead set against public funding of abortion. I am absolutely for parental consent, and I am absolutely against partial-birth abortion. I am not pleased with the fact that the issue has become so politicized, because I think it finally boils down to an argument between two absolutes, the right of a fetus and the right of a woman, and I think we're now leaving politics and we're now into religion and morality and personal issues that everybody has to face—or in this case has to face. So I would repeal Roe v. Wade. Now, repealing Roe v. Wade would be the way that I would go about making this decision. One thing is is that Roe v. Wade is another federal intrusion into the lives of the people of America. Until Roe v. Wade, each state had its own set of laws. North Carolina's was very liberal. I think Louisiana's was not. Maybe it all depends whether is was Catholic, whether it was this, whether it was that. Repeal Roe v. Wade, and then we use local standards to make a decision.
  • Randall: Where do I stand with respect to abortion? I think that you need to understand that Ronald Reagan wrote a book called Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation. If we cannot protect the life of the innocent in the womb, what does that say for us as a nation? And as far as life is concerned, I believe it should be protected from conception to geriatric care and the elderly.

Avoiding corruption

  • LuMaye: It's been said that it can take anywhere from two weeks to two months for a newly elected candidate to become corrupt once arriving in DC. How are you prepared to prevent this from happening to you?
  • Reeves As my mother said about people, the people in Congress are people we wouldn't know. They're not people that I have any desire to impress. They're not poeple that I have any desire to gain social status with. I'm going to Congress because I'm upset. I think that America is in trouble, and I think people who can win and beat Brad Miller and articulate the problems facing America is critcal. If this Congress does not change in November, Obama will have two more years with a Democrat Congress, and the American we knew will be gone forever.
  • Randall: One thing and really only one thing: Keep my sole dependence on my Lord and not myself."

Video of the debate

For more information, you can view a multipart video of the debate:

Questions from the NCFPC

The table below shows answers to 10 of the questions in the 2010 North Carolina Family Policy Council questionnaire for congressional races. NR indicates no response to the questionnaire. For complete results from the NC-13 candidates, see www.ncfpc.org/voterguide2010/us-congressional/house.php?districtInput=13.

Candidate Reeves Randall
Should the United States Constitution be amended to include the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman?NRYes
Should federal law extend health and other benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees?NRNo
Should internet gambling be prohibited?NRYes
Should all Americans be required to carry health insurance? NRNo
Should federal taxpayer dollars be used to pay for abortions? No*No
Should Congress strengthen conscience protections for doctors, nurses, health care providers, pharmacists, insurance groups, and employers who do not want to participate in or fund abortion procedures or to dispense abortifacient drugs? NRYes
Should references to God be removed from government property? NRNo
Should human embryos be used for research purposes? NRNo
Should a person’s religious beliefs influence the decisions they make while serving in public office? NRYes
Should the federal tax code be simplified with a flat tax or a national sales tax? NRYes
*Although Reeves did not respond to the questionnaire, he addressed this issue in the debate.
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