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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Phil Forgit and Rob Wittman Debate

The three candidates for the 1st CD special election, Democrat Phil Forgit; Republican Rob Wittman; and conservative Independent, Lucky Narain, mixed it up on a local Norfolk TV station last Thursday. Their debate will air tomorrow (Sunday) locally.

Fred2Blue has a story on Forgit’s confident and skilled performance in staking out his position and taking on his opponents, especially Wittman.

Also, according the Daily Press

The policy debate started with a discussion of Iraq with Forgit explaining that while he was training Iraqi soldiers in 2005 he saw a lot of potential.

"They are willing to work, they are willing to stand up," Forgit said. "While our troops are there we need to support them in deeds, not just in words."

Meanwhile, Wittman said that the surge was helping to stop violence in some parts of Iraq and more needed to be done to build on that security. In other words, stay the course just as the Bush administration argues.

Lucky Narain, meanwhile, said he wanted to bring the troops home but not before the Iraqis gained better control of the insurgents and militias.

Of course, it’s hard to say when that would be or how that’s different from Wittman’s stand. Narain, however, at least quickly turned the subject to the need to protect veterans’ benefits, which he said are shrinking.

In that area, he’s in agreement with Forgit, an Iraq veteran and Naval Reservist as well as a Bronze Star recipient who has made protection of veterans’ benefits a centerpiece of his campaign.

Then the discussion turned to oil and conservation. Here's more on Wittman and his positions

...Wittman, currently a state delegate, said he wants to see additional research done on more efficient and cleaner fuels and noted that during his first General Assembly session he sponsored a bill that created a grant program to fund scientists working on alternative biofuels.

"We need to have energy independence," Wittman said. "It's a national security issue."

He also mentioned that he was one of four legislators who had been named Chesapeake Bay Foundation's legislator of the year in 2007. To which Forgit quipped, “Welcome to the Democratic Party.”

Forgit also said to Wittman, “The fact is your party is not going to be there for you.” Forgit pointed out that the Republicans and Bush administration have scuttled research into alternate energy sources and fought against environmental regulations.

On immigration Forgit went after the Republicans in Congress and the administration:

Forgit again went after the GOP, charging that while Republicans controlled Congress and the White House for six years, the party did little to effectively curb illegal immigration. Forgit said the federal government must shut down the borders and fine businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

That is an excellent point and one that more Democrats need to remind people of.

Indeed, in the recent statewide elections, Republicans demagogued the immigration issue to death. The truth is this is not a state problem, it’s a national problem. There is very little states can legally do to stem the flow of illegal immigration. The solution lies at the federal level. And it includes getting control of our borders, which is also a security issue.

Anyway, it looks like Forgit more than held his own against an experienced politician and he brings real, pragmatic solutions to the race.

In addition, he has picked up a lot of support from his fellow Democrats in his final push this weekend. Raising Kaine has a great post up about events featuring Tim Kaine today at Three Olives Restaurant, 1203 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, VA., and Mark Warner, at the Forgit for Congress office in Newport News on Monday at 2 pm. Also, tomorrow Chap Petersen will be at a Get Out The Vote Rally at the Forgit for Congress office in Fredericksburg at 1:30 pm. For more information about these events go to the Forgit for Congress website.

Since turnout is expected to be miniscule on Tuesday, December 11, every vote is going to count. With Phil Forgit in office, there will be one more voice representing Virginia and moving forward a Democratic agenda that will give us a sustainable energy policy, dedication to protecting the benefits of those who serve our nation, making the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, and a knowledgeable voice on education.

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