Congressional candidates discuss policy at Thursday night forum |

Congressional candidates discuss policy at Thursday night forum

Sam Corey
Staff Writer

Three of five candidates running for California’s 1st Congressional District fielded questions ranging from fossil fuels to health care at a Nevada County forum.

Democrats Audrey Denney and Rob Lydon, and no party preference candidate Joseph LeTourneau IV, appeared Thursday at the Eric Rood Administrative Center for a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Western Nevada County. Incumbent Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, and no party preference candidate Gregory Cheadle, didn’t attend.

Early on, the candidates made statements about their favored policy issues.

Lydon said the country needs a more balanced budget, LeTourneau noted the “huge divide” between political groups and Denney addressed problems related to mitigating fire risk and reforming forest management as well as a broken health care system “especially as it relates to rural healthcare.”

Digging deeper into the topics, the candidates discussed their policy issues.


LeTourneau said he was interested in a carbon tax, adding he didn’t know what the numbers would look like.

“How much tax? How is it affecting us?” he asked, noting the importance of renewable energy.

Lydon agreed that the nuances of a carbon tax would need to be better understood.

Denney said she has a plan to mitigate the effects of climate change and to simultaneously invest in the economy. She suggested increasing cap-and-trade style programs, enhancing training for farmers, ranchers and foresters to work in ways that are “climate friendly” and to use biomass energy as a source of climate renewal and economic revitalization.

“No, it is not responsible to keep using fossil fuels,” she said, noting that the country and district must adjust to solar, wind and biomass energy and change energy incentives accordingly.

“It is the dream to have a 100% renewable economy,” she said, expressing the need to work with China and India to help them eliminate their carbon emission rates.


Denney said she won’t accept money from PG&E, unlike incumbent LaMalfa.

“None of us are strangers to the mismanagement of PG&E,” she said, noting the importance of electing leaders “that are not bought and paid for by corporate interests.”

LeTourneau said PG&E needs to be held accountable for putting its customers through power shut-offs. He said localities need to find alternative utility companies moving forward.

Lydon rebuked PG&E for what he called its monopolistic powers. He said there needs to either be government control or the introduction of private competition. He also suggested customers reduce their reliance on non-renewable energy resources.


LeTourneau supported an amalgamated public-private healthcare system. He believes hospitals should be forced to publicly share their prices.

“Why are fees so high?” asked Lydon. “Why is it so profitable to run health care facilities?” The candidate suggested making healthcare more affordable.

Denney noted that two-thirds of personal bankruptcies are medical in nature. She supports a single-payer health care system.


Lydon said too many people are getting breaks from the state and federal government “who aren’t working.” The candidate also suggested raising taxes on corporations as they get too many breaks.

LeTourneau suggested decreasing spending on the country’s military, and is generally opposed to the idea of raising taxes.

“I think we’ve become consumers to such a layer that we’ve begun to consume ourselves,” he said.

Denney said she would reverse the 2017 tax cuts, which gave profits to shareholders and didn’t lead to much growth. She also supported phasing out war and supporting the State Department in its efforts to reduce violence in Central America and the Middle East.


Denney said she believes in the sanctity of life, but it’s ultimately up to women whether they want to bring that life into being. She said the country needs to do more to reduce the maternal mortality rate, which is the worst in the developed world and particularly bad for African Americans. She supports paid family leave and maternity leave.

LeTourneau said he is “100% against abortion,” and is in favor of repealing Roe v. Wade. He said the country needs to “go to the root of the issue.”

Lydon did not speak to whether he would repeal the court decision if he had the chance.


Lydon said people should not be indebted when they obtain housing. He suggested the issue has to do with a lack of education and dearth of well-paying job prospects.

LeTourneau said he believes housing is an issue that needs to be addressed promptly.

Denney said she would work with city councils to build “up and not out.” She would also lower restrictions on building additional dwelling units and invest in the construction industry to expand employment in the sector.


Both Denney and Lydon said they supported expanding immigration.

“We’re all immigrants,” said Lydon, noting that if someone has a criminal background the individual must return to their home country to stand trial.

“Immigrants have shaped our culture, shaped our country and shaped our American values,” said Denney. She hopes to pass the Dream Act, visa reforms and allow for an easier path to citizenship.

LeTourneau said the country must accept everyone in need but also maintain “a steady house,” noting the importance of strong borders.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey, email or call 530-477-4219.

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