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Emery, Curtis debate issues

Earmarks and federal funding are needed in Nevada County.

That was the message from Democrat Clint Curtis and independent candidate Ben Emery as the two challengers for California’s 4th U.S. Congressional seat debated each other this week in Nevada City.

It starkly contrasts the message from incumbent Republican Tom McClintock, who opposes much of government spending.



The two spoke before about 50 people Thursday at a League of Women Voters candidate forum.

“One of my priorities is to bring back resources to jump-start job creation in the area,” Emery, an independent candidate, said.




Democrat Clint Curtis sharply criticized McClintock’s stated no-earmark policy, saying the Northeastern California district is losing out on needed infrastructure funding.

“What really happens is that your tax dollars go to Iowa or New Jersey or somewhere else,” Curtis said.

McClintock did not attend the forum due to his voting duties in Congress, spokesman Bill George said.

Electability

Curtis and Emery landed on the same side of the aisle on a number of issues, but the Democrat repeatedly stressed his value as the more electable candidate.

“We’ve been polling recently, and we’re seven points down,” Curtis said. “The Green Party didn’t even poll. How can you go from 0 percent to winning?”

A vote for Emery is a vote for change in Washington D.C., the candidate said. Although he is a member of the Green Party, and a “G” will appear next to his name on the ballot, he is running as an independent candidate.

“We can vote for the status quo, or we can vote for something new,” Emery said.

Emery, a Nevada City resident, was born and raised in Nevada County – which is an asset, he said.

Curtis moved to Roseville in January after moving to California from Florida last year. McClintock, originally from Southern California, lives in Elk Grove, outside of the district – despite promises he would move to the district if elected in 2008.

“It’s such an insult that we have a representative that lives outside of our district,” Emery said.

Differing view on wars

Both took differing views in fielding questions on American conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have stretched over seven and nine years, respectively.

“The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were both unconstitutional. There needs to be indictments and investigations on how we got there,” Emery said. “But we’re there now, and we have to fix it before we leave.”

America cannot be the face of the Afghanistan conflict; instead it must back a coalition of neighboring nations and local contractors to clean up and rebuild the nation, Emery said.

Comparing the war in Afghanistan to the war in Vietnam, Curtis advocated immediate withdrawal of all troops.

“We need to get out of there now,” Curtis said. “We’ve been there for a decade now. It’s time to come home and let them run their own country.”

To contact Staff Writer Kyle Magin, e-mail kmagin@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4239.


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