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8th Congressional District Debate Held Monday

Madden’s Town Hall Conference Center hosted round two of debates last night between Republican Pete Stauber and Democrat Joe Radinovich, who are vying for the 8th Congressional District Seat. Prior to the action, while the rules were went over, an interruption. Ray “Skip” Sandman, Independence Party, was not included in this second round of debates. Sandman’s spokesperson Mike Kuitu stood up and shouted, “I don’t think democracy is being served by whatever rules you put forward.” He further explained that their campaign manager was in contact with the Chamber and they don’t believe there was much of a response from them explaining why Skip wasn’t invited. While pointing to the stage, Kuitu continued, “The fact is, he tried to contact you himself, but he never heard a reply.”
 
While Stauber showed a slight nod of approval when questions were directed to the stage asking if the candidates would be okay with the Independent taking the stage with them, Chamber President Killian assured those with the Sandman campaign they could discuss after the forum anything further and restored the agenda.
 
When the Democrat and Republican did get the stage, Radinovich framed himself as one for working class people, being a 4th generation on the iron range-opened by talking about Protecting Retirement, Investing in Places and People, and Changing Politics. He added, “We have to do politics different in this country. We have to return power to people like those in this room.”
 
Republican Pete Steuber cited his 24 years of public service, and as a small business owner added, “Congress needs more men and women who have signed the front of the checks and not just the back of the checks, that have struggled to make ends meet” “I’m going to Congress to be a problem-solver and my only special interest is you the people.”
 
From there, the approximately 400 in attendance did, on occasion, groan, and on occasion cheer statements by each candidate. 
 
On the economy and tarfiffs:
 
Republican Pete Stauber praised Trump tax cuts and noted the economy is better now than 19 months ago, with the tax cuts being used for mortgage and car payments for working and middle-class people. Stauber also spoke of Trump’s tariffs protecting industries like farming and mining and benefits of new USMCA deal. 
 
Radinovich criticized Republican policies that he said pit miners vs. farmers.
 
Stauber-added As mines go, state economy goes.
 
The candidates were asked how they would balance industry while preserving natural environment.
 
Stauber: With 21st century technology, we can do both. Stauber expressed support for the Polymet Mining Initiative; Stauber praised the country as having the best regulations. “We need to trust miners can do it right”
 
Radinovich: We need to make sure to meet or exceed regulations, Joe echoed the need for mining and criticized both Obama and Trump administrations for turning the issue into a political tool-Obama with mining ban at end of his term, and Trump ending a two-year forestry study five months before it was scheduled to be completed and withholding the gathered data.
 
 
 
Health Care was seen as a most important issue:
 
Radinovich said health care is a fundamental need; he talked of his support of universal single-payer health care-noting if the rest of the developed world can afford health care systems of a similar nature, the wealthiest nation on Earth can, too. “It seems immoral to me that we can’t provide health care for everybody” Radinovich added. 
 
Stauber: “We want affordable, accessible, health care that is patient driven and physician guided” Stauber also cited an example of talking to a Canada resident having to wait a year to get her back looked at and the need for competition in health care, expanding healthcare savings accounts, and not getting politics between patient and doctors.
Radinovich added the health care system is at a crisis-the problem is affordability. His anecdote shared was of a diabetic paying $200 a vial for insulin to keep himself alive.
 
 
The candidates continued on a number more topics including the President’s leadership, the Political Divide, Public Education, Addressing US Security and the Border, Big Money in Politics, and Under-represented Policies. 
 
We’ll have more tomorrow and later on rjbroadcasting.com!