Republican challenger Reid Dallas speaks at Monday night's Candidates' Forum at the Clay County Fairgrounds. Seated is the incumbent, Democrat Vern Tincher.
By DIANE DIERKS
The question and answer session looked more like the Congressional "Bloody 8th" than the State 46th Monday night.
Democrat incumbent State Representative Vern Tincher and Republican challenger Reid Dallas battled over District 46 at the Candidates' Forum Debate.
The two candidates voiced opposing views throughout most of the debate regarding education, taxes, the Indiana toll road, lifetime health benefits for retired legislators and the township level of local government.
Tincher said, "It's a bad deal when we leased that toll road."
Creating bonds was a viable alternative to leasing, he said.
"We could have bonded for 20 years for a total of $2 billion dollars and the toll road would still be ours."
In response Dallas said, "Those foreign bonds go overseas. With this plan, we are creating jobs. This is putting people to work."
Both Tincher and Dallas grew visibly agitated when the question of lifetime healthcare for retired legislators was posed.
According to Dallas, Vern Tincher voted to approve the bill.
"That's not fair. Voters don't get it. That's dollars that could be spent elsewhere - like in schools," said Dallas.
Tincher countered with the argument that he voted to approve a general plan and did not necessarily agree with the specifics of the bill.
"If Brian Bosma, the House speaker didn't understand the bill, how do you expect a retired state police officer to understand it?" asked Tincher.
On matters of public education, Tincher said vouchers would take money away from the public school system.
"We cannot afford two or three different systems to support public education. It will end up coming from property taxes," said Tincher.
Dallas emphasized that parents should have the right to choose how their children will be educated.
"At one time, this nation had an education system that the world envied. What happened? The federal and state government got involved. Let the local communities decide. We need to spend money where it counts," Dallas said.
Tincher and Dallas did agree on two issues. Neither candidate approved of a foreign company leasing the Indiana toll road, and both agreed the trustee level of local government should remain intact.
But on more than one occasion, Dallas used the two minutes allotted to answer a question for rebutting an answer given by Tincher.
"Answer the question!" said Tincher.
The Candidates' Forum was sponsored by Clay County Farm Bureau, The Brazil Times and the Clay County Chamber of Commerce.
More than 24 candidates attended the event.