Congressional candidates Ted Yoho, J.R. Gaillot and Phil Dodds spoke at Santa Fe College on Monday in a public information forum.
The forum started off with statements from each candidate about why he is running for U.S. Congress. The candidates then answered questions, some of which were posed by audience members.
“The Democracy Commitment is all about exposing college students to ways that they can be better-informed citizens,” Marilyn Tubb, co-chair of the Democracy Commitment at Santa Fe, told attendees.
She said all three candidates bring new, fresh faces to congressional politics, and the race is considered the cleanest congressional race in the country.
“I’m a no-party affiliate independent running for Congress to restore trust and help solve our nation’s challenges,” Dodds said. “Voters are supposed to be the boss, and the representative is supposed to be the employee.”
Yoho said he’s running because he’s dissatisfied with some current government decisions.
“I’ve had enough of Washington standing in the way of job creation, which is really important to you when you look at the job rate for college graduates,” said the Republican candidate.
Topics covered during the forum included whether to keep the Electoral College the way it is, whether to raise the debt ceiling, what to do with former President George W. Bush’s tax cuts, abortion and the expansion of Gainesville Regional Airport.
“I’m running to bring about real change and new leadership,” said Gaillot, the Democratic candidate. “I’ve worked in politics as a consultant, so I know how Washington works. We need high-paying jobs, and we need to allow small businesses to grow.”
Gaillot said he would get funding to build a new terminal and expand the current runway for the airport. He said these changes could bring in more airlines, more permanent jobs and more revenue.
Yoho was against it, saying that the Environmental Protection Agency would not approve it. He said he has seen many airlines come and go, and he doesn’t feel the expansion is in demand.
Dodds did not say much about the subject. He said he feels that congressmen shouldn’t be focusing on the issue right now.
While each candidate had varying views on the subjects, all three agreed on one: The economy is the number one issue at hand, and that’s what Congress should address first.