Wellington Chapter hosts the Senatorial Candidate Forum
Palm Beach County Tea Party’s (PBCTP) Wellington Chapter hosted our Senatorial Candidate Forum on Monday, December 12th. Most of the attendees partook of the tasty buffet at the Binks Forest Country Club prior to the beginning of the meeting.
Gina Rascati, Wellington Chapter Leader and PBCTP co-founder, kicked off the event with the Pledge of Allegiance. Then Mel Grossman, PBCTP Vice President and co-founder, spoke about December events – encouraging attendees to help work the upcoming Gun Show. In addition, he said that he’d be starting rallies, once again, in the new year. Iris Scheibl, one of the PBCTP co-founders, described the upcoming Presidential Preference Primary Portfolio Event on January 10th to be jointly hosted by PBCTP and South Florida 912. Alex Berry, Boca Chapter Leader took the podium and kicked-off the events – first describing the tenets of the PBCTP, then doing the introductions. The guest moderator for the event was Jim Sackett, former WPTV NewsChannel 5 news anchor; time-keeper was Gina Rascatti; and the participating candidates, in order of opening statements were: Mike McCalister, Deon Long, Ron McNeil and Marielena Stuart.
After opening remarks, each of the candidates rotated going first in responding to the questions with one minute responses. The excellent questions ran the gamut of conservative issues: Repeal Obamacare? Which departments to scale back or get rid of? How to reduce the National Debt? Would you have voted for the Defense Authorization Bill? Would you support removing the US from the UN, NAFTA, and NATO and expel the UN from NYC? Would you refuse to sign any treaty that says the US contributes to global warming or climate change? Would you work to reform the tax code and repeal the 16th amendment? Would you work to repeal current executive orders that put restrictions on States’ rights and if so, which ones? Would you follow current immigration law while striving for a long term solution? Is the U.S. Constitution a living document? Would you abolish or limit the number of Czars? Would you support making the Bush tax cuts permanent? If not, why not? While many of the responses were similar – there were distinctions based on the personal viewpoint of each of the candidates. McCalister brought his military background and other experiences into the mix, Long spoke of his economic outlook and the fair tax as a framework, McNeil cited his paradigm as a successful engineer and businessman, and Stuart her perspective as a Cuban immigrant who lived under Communism and described Agenda 21/Sustainability as socialism.
We had time for two great audience questions as well. Would you support and pass term limits for the House and Senate? – leading to probably the funniest line of the night, given by McNeil – “Yes – two terms – one in office and one in prison!”, and What would you do with the Federal Reserve and what would you replace it with?
The candidates then closed with 5 minute closing statements. Alex closed the meeting with calling the raffle.
It was a very informative event offering us an opportunity to learn more about these principled but lesser known candidates. There is a long time until the August 2012 primary and any one of these fine folks could emerge as a strong Conservative candidate. Thanks to all who attended.
The following pictures were taken by Alex Berry.