Midterm elections are approaching quickly, and not much time remains for citizens to educate themselves on the positions of those running, so they can make informed votes on Election Day.
On Nov. 2, elections will be held to fill 37 seats in the Senate, 112 seats in the House of Representatives and other various seats in state and local legislatures. Thugh democrats currently dominate Congress, it’s likely that the upcoming election will change that, as support for the ultra-conservative republican subsidiary known as the Tea Party is widespread.
The Tea Party movement includes one of Kentucky’s very own candidates for Senate, Rand Paul. Paul is running against Jack Conway, a moderate democrat. In order to fill the House seat for 3rd District in Ky., democratic incumbent John Yarmuth is running against republican Todd Lally, who’s also a member of the Tea Party.
Paul is an ophthalmologist from Bowling Green, who according to his official website, entered politics because of “a desire to diagnose problems and provide practical solutions.” Conway, his running mate, is Attorney General. If elected, he believes his experience in public service will help him in the Senate.
Paul and Conway have differing views on many issues including taxes, abortion and health care. Bur the ultra-conservative and moderate agree on many issues as well. They agree that marriage should strictly be between a man and a woman, immigration laws should be harsher, big corporations should not receive bailouts from the government and that the government should uphold people’s gun rights.
In regards to the economy, Paul believes taxes should be lower and government involvement minimal. Conway is more concerned with eliminating tax loopholes that cause companies to create jobs offshore as opposed to in America. And he’s in favor of reducing red tape so that small businesses can more easily reach their goals.
Paul believes life begins at conception and therefore, abortion should be illegal under all circumstances. In contrast, Conway believes, “Abortion should be rare, but safe and legal.”
Health care reform has been a subject of great controversy since the passing of Obamacare in Congress, which basically offers a government option to people for health insurance. Paul deeply opposes this resolution, believing that health care is “over-regulated and in need of serious market reforms.” Conway supports President Obama’s health care reform policies.
Running to be representatives in the House, Yarmuth and Lally not only have very different backgrounds, but also very different viewpoints on crucial issues.
Yarmuth, who’s currently the representative for Ky.’s 3rd District and is on the House Committee on Budget and the House Ways and Means Committee, is a media expert. In fact, he’s responsible for founding LEO Newsweekly, an influential publication in the city. Lally’s a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has served in the military for 22 years.
When it comes to taxes, it seems as though both Yarmuth and Lally agree that the middle class should not have to carry a larger burden. They also agree that current tax policies negatively affect small businesses. But Yarmuth, wants to entirely exempt small businesses from estate tax, while Lally favors a tax code that benefits everyone, not just a single group.
With the issue of health care, Yarmuth strongly supports Obamacare, believing that every American should be guaranteed “access to quality, affordable health insurance.” Lally, on the other hand, claimed he had faith in American companies and therefore, didn’t find it necessary for administrators in Washington to make decisions regarding this issue. He doesn’t think a government agency is capable of surpassing a private company in performance.
Yarmuth is concerned about global warming. To him, environmental issues are of utmost importance. He has supported investments in alternative energy. Lally isn’t as concerned about the environment, believing that cap and trade policies, which offer economic incentives for lessening pollution, will just cause Congress to “take money out of your pocket and put Americans out of work.”
Yarmuth is leading Lally in the race by a narrow margin of 2 percent, according to the Courier-Journal/WHAS 11 Bluegrass Poll conducted last month. The same poll found Paul to lead Conway 49 to 47 percent in the senatorial race, with 4 percent undecided.
The upcoming election has the capacity to entirely transform Capitol Hill. Because the election’s focus is primarily on the economy and health care issues, it’s likely its results will have a direct effect on Americans. Therefore, in order to have your voice heard, it’s crucial for you to vote on Nov. 2.
(Published in The Concord Oct. 19, 2010)