In a bid to rally GOP support and gather constituents, Republican congressional candidates for the 23rd District, John Davidson, Tom Watson, and Clark Vandeventer, participated in an interactive debate moderated by Hilary Dozer at the B’nai B’rith Lodge on May 27. All the candidates demanded that the Obama administration and Representative Lois Capps be held accountable for failed policies.

John Davidson spoke first, beginning with a five-minute opening statement. Davidson stated that he ran because of his five grandchildrens’ future, adding that an average household is $125,000 in debt because of President Obama’s economic stimulus package. Davidson also brought up health care, which is pertinent for him because he was the former president and founder of the Davidson Insurance and Financial Services Inc.

“I read the entire health-care bill,” Davidson said. “Congresswoman Capps denied reading the bill, and it is the most egregious act that she didn’t read it.”

Former naval and flight officer Tom Watson explained why he decided to run and then listed his accomplishments. Watson obtained an M.A. in systems management at USC and an M.A. in aeronautical engineering at the U.S. Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, CA. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and Naval Fighter Weapons School, TOPGUN. He was also nominated for the NASA Astronaut Program. Watson stated his main reason in running as the GOP nominee was because of Congressmember Capps’s ineffectual leadership.

“Lois Capps is a creature for Washington,” Watson said. “I have never been this concerned about the future of the country, because they are stealing our futures.”

Hopeful nominee Clark Vandeventer had a more optimistic tone as he explained his decision in running. “Our home values have gone down,” Vandeventer said. “Can my kids grow up to live in a free and prosperous society like I did? I rather believe that our best days are yet to come.”

Although Vandeventer is new to the political scene, he has had ample time to study the history of Ronald Reagan’s presidency as a former deputy director at the Ronald Reagan ranch in Santa Barbara.

Following each speech, the candidates then answered questions from a screened selection of the audience. The topics that were discussed included the economic downturn and the housing crisis, financial reform, cap and trade, immigration, Israel and security, and the health-care bill.


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