Candidates from the Volusia region debate abortion and climate change

DAYTONA BEACH — Volusia County’s Tiger Bay Club promised “A night of political fireworks,” and while the six mini-debates — one-minute intros and three two-minute questions — between the candidates for the Congress and the Volusia County school board candidates remained civilians, a few rockets were thrown and their eyes raised. Here are some highlights.

On abortion

The recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade’s conclusion that states have the right to limit or ban abortions drew strong reactions from three Democrats and five of the eight Republican candidates for Congress in the new 7th District.

Florida House District 30 Republican candidates Chase Tramont and Robyn Hattaway each offered powerful testimonials for their pro-life views.

Tramont talked about adopting a child with special needs. “My son is non-verbal, 100%. He will never say the word dad. It breaks my heart…And I was there the night he was born. And the options were abortion or adoption. Well , my wife and I chose to put our lives where our mouths are. We weren’t just going to say we enjoy life and then walk away. We welcomed it. And it changed our lives dramatically. , and no one can ever tell me that her life doesn’t have value. . . . We have a moral obligation, especially in unexpected pregnancies (and with low-income mothers to ensure that “they have the resources to handle this. It’s not enough to just love them for life. You have to be able to love them enough to be able to give them hope and opportunity…so invest in programs of adoption and a reform of foster families.”

Hattaway said her husband was the product of an infant pregnancy. “I couldn’t be more grateful to my mother-in-law. She’s my dearest friend and the bravest woman I know,” she said. Next, Hattaway shared a story about his dad, who impregnated his high school girlfriend. This child was adopted: “I discovered four years ago that I had a brother. God, I’m going to cry. As a child, I dreamed that I would have a brother to defend me in the playground and that was always that pipe dream. I’ve always been jealous of other kids who had a big brother. … But I met this man. And I’m so grateful to the woman who had him and the choice that she did and his life is beautiful. And he excelled and has five children and they are a part of my life today. And I’m so grateful. I can’t imagine valuing life more.

On the “toxicity” of the school board

Three of the five Volusia County School Board District 1 candidates participated, addressing a question about the perception that the district has had a toxicity problem.

Georgann Carnicella told the story of attending a school board meeting where a woman approached the board during a public comment and none of the board members looked her in the eye: “I don’t I don’t know if I would use ‘toxic’. I think we’re all in a toxic environment. That’s a strong word to use to say school board members are ‘toxic.’ “is confidence. I think what’s missing is attention.”

Incumbent Jamie Haynes referenced the dismissal of former Superintendent Scott Fritz, saying that since then no one has approached her to express their displeasure: “The tension went out of the room on April 12. … What I can tell you is the sun is shining on Volusia county right now Dr Carmen Balgobin She was a surprise She came to see us and we had no idea that shortly after the pandemic she should take on the role of superintendent. She did so with courtesy and She was working 24/7. That’s what I believe she will continue to do now.”

Al Bouie responded with a recitation of his resume, then emphasized team spirit. “You don’t get upset and fire your superintendent before he’s had a chance to complete the strategic plan. So I think we’re removing the toxicity by showing that we know how to work as a team for improvement. and learning activities of our children.”

On who wasn’t there

One of the school board’s hottest races is District 5, where incumbent Ruben Colón faces a challenge from Volusia County Councilman Fred Lowry.

Lowry did not show up at the Tiger Bay debate, and Colón and a few other contestants whose contest was not present were given a chance to run.

“I’m a bit used to being alone,” Colón said. “It’s too bad that the Moms for Liberty debate, which ended up being cancelled, my opponent didn’t show up. Tonight he didn’t show up. League of Women Voters, he’s already said he won’t show up. would not show up. He is counting on support for which he has done nothing.”

Then came the announcement that the Moms for Liberty debate would resume. Colón and Lowry will debate from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on July 22 at the Deltona Center.

Lowry said in a text message that he didn’t need to defend his case.

On climate change and the Supreme Court decision on the EPA

Six of eight Republicans in the 7th congressional district responded to a question about climate change and a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency has no power to regulate carbon emissions without specific authorization from Congress.

Scott Sturgill said the Supreme Court “was right to limit the EPA”, then added: “Global warming, of course. There are issues where you know we could do better as a society. But there are also issues where… the Earth takes care of itself. It’s an ever-evolving battle. So, again, for anyone who wants global warming and wants to, you know, continue in this way, I hope you enjoy the high prices. I hope you enjoy the excessive penalties we pay. I’m not a big believer there.

Anthony Sabatini acknowledged a changing climate, but said private enterprise – not government – must take the lead. “We know that the effect of people living in Western developed countries is very limited in the overall effect on climate change and countries like India and China are major contributors to this problem,” he said. he declares. “And that by limiting our own people and attacking them and making sure that they can’t live a good and fruitful life and that they can actually use the energy for their own consumption needs, we are unilaterally disarm as a country, while these bad actors don’t do the same.”

Erika Benfield said the Obama administration’s “Cash-for-Clunkers” program was an example of government overreach that hurt American jobs, then added, “Florida, of course, has a huge amount of shorelines but we have to be aware of how these things affect us so I really think that needs to be discussed, that needs to be talked about, but I’m not for anything that’s overdone by the government that going to hurt the Americans.”

Ted Edwards agreed with the Supreme Court’s ruling that the executive branch should not bypass Congress in making regulations. “In terms of global warming, yes, based on the rise in temperature, I think we would all agree that there is a change that has taken place in our climate. We have to make sure that we’re doing what we can to deal with it. … Certainly we have to do what we can to protect our environment, but we have to do it sensibly.”

Al Santos argued for support for innovators in developing methods to capture carbon emissions, but warned that too much regulation hurts the free market economy. “So I think the role of government should be as a leader of the world to start a program or continue the program of planting trees around the world. I think we should be planting billions of trees, you know . It’s going to take time.”

Brady Duke also stressed the importance of maintaining an economy free from excessive regulation: “Our environment absolutely must be managed. We have been blessed by creation and we absolutely must manage the resources within it whenever we can. ”

Three Democrats running for U.S. House District 7 in Florida, from left, Al Krulick, Allek Pastrana and Tatiana Fernandez, participate in a debate hosted by the Tiger Bay Club of Volusia County Thursday, July 7, 2022 in Daytona Beach.

The three Democrats present also addressed what needs to be done to address climate change.

Tatiana Fernandez: “The United States Supreme Court is trying to turn back time. We will also need clear federal legislation to reduce carbon emissions, not only as an agency goal, but also as a as a goal of the U.S. government.”

Allek Pastrana said he would advocate laws based on scientific evidence, but added, “I understand where SCOTUS is coming from, because the EPA shouldn’t be passing its own laws. Laws should come from Congress, not is this not?”

Al Krulick said climate change is real and cannot be desired. “It is estimated that there are over 100 climate change deniers in Congress and each of them receives campaign contributions from dirty energy companies,” he said. “The truth is that our economy will be stronger if we invest in clean energy.”

On the impact of the pandemic on schools

District 3 school board candidate Justin Kennedy expressed a view shared by several others: “I think the school board did what they could do with the information they had. … And I think the school board was looking at it from a school from a safety perspective and then it got more political.”

Kim Short runs the Volusia County school forum Facebook page and said it has grown from about 5,000 people before the pandemic to more than 12,000 a few months later. “I think there are some things we definitely could have done better. One of those would be communication. … When people flood Facebook trying to find answers and your district doesn’t control the communication , that’s not exactly a good sign.”

Jesse Thompson said pardon should be given to board members because their decisions during the unprecedented spread of COVID-19 were difficult. “I would consult with various medical professionals very early on and realize that the science is changing. The science is not settled. It is constantly changing.”

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