Senate Candidates at Boca Tea Party

The Palm Beach County Tea Party and South Florida 912 had an event tonight with candidates for State Senate at the Boca Greens clubhouse. It was very well attended, perhaps 200 people.

The Senate candidates relevant to West Boca Raton are Republicans Geoffrey Sommers and Melanie Peterson. There is also a Democrat running but he is not expected at this Tea Party event. Also present is Mike Lameyer, whose district is east of the Turnpike but doesn’t include West Boca.
1st question:
Regarding Gov. Scott’s plan on Obamacare and Medicaid, what would you do?
Melanie Peterson: I will stand with Gov. Scott. This is the best decision for Florida.
Mike Lameyer: Agree with Gov. Taxpayers would have to come up with $1.2B.
Geoff Sommers: With Gov. Scott. This would expand Medicaid rolls a lot. Favors private markets for health insurance.
Q2: Increase pension contribution and reduce other pension benefits? What would you do?
Lameyer: Govt employees should pay for their own retirement. State pension system is broke. Use 401k retirement plans.
Sommers: Private accounts the only way. Government workers should not get more than private sector workers. FL should remain a right to work state.
Peterson: Last year $300M into state pension, a big chunk to fix the gap. Have to have a conversation with state workers. They have to sacrifice too. Current system punishes self employed and small business owners.
Q3: Privatization of FL prison system?
Sommers: Privatize whatever can be done better by private sector.
Peterson: Crime at an all time low. Supports Gov. 100%.
Lameyer: Privatize wherever possible. Send officers back out on patrol.
Q4: State tax credits to green energy companies?
Peterson: Don’t like singling out a single industry. We need tax relief for everyone.
Lameyer: Supports free market development of energy resources.
Sommers: Oppose crony capitalism. Quoted from Peterson’s website where she supported tax breaks for windmills. Sommers claimed it would benefit a friend of Peterson.
Peterson denied this was a government break, and claimed this was a good project for us.
Q5: Education
Lameyer: Supports voucher program. That’s what creates competition.
Sommers: Hold schools accountable. Support school choice and charter schools where necessary.
Peterson: Education system is broken. Charter schools are doing well because privately run. Criticized FCAT and suggested privatizing Dept of Education.
(Big audience response in favor of Peterson on this)
Q6: Expand casino gambling?
Lameyer: I don’t gamble. If a community wants gambling we have to respect that. But claims casinos increase crime, drug abuse and more. And that every casino job causes loss of 1.2 jobs.
Peterson: If constituents want it have to respect it. But would try to educate voters about the balance and associated crime.
Sommers: Same view as the others. Expand gambling in a moderate way through existing licenses.
Q7: E-verify?
Sommers: Thumbs up. We have to work with federal government on immigration issues.
Peterson: Opposed to mandate from state. Should not be a state level decision. Hurts FL businesses competitively with other states. Guest worker program with closed borders. Opposes state benefits to illegals.
(This was a great answer to an audience that was initially dubious but she won them over.)
Lameyer: Used e-verify in his company. Supports it emphatically. Pointed to food stamps for non-citizens.
(Audience loved his answer).
Q8: Eliminate corporate income tax and all targeted tax breaks. (Americans for Prosperity pledge) You?
Sommers: I have signed that pledge and support it.
Lameyer: Support it. Let’s get some of these foreign car plants in FL.
Peterson: Gov. Scott on right track. Supports Amendment 4.
Q9: Veto of $143M in local project spending. Was he right?
Peterson: Yes
Lameyer: Yes.
Sommers: Criticized Abruzzo for bragging about bacon.
Q10: Citizens Insurance
Sommers: Depopulate Citizens – bring competition back in.
Lameyer: Bad idea then. Worse now. Bring other insurers back in.
Peterson: Reduce size of Citizens. Spoke at a technical level, about population density vs risk mitigation, rate modeling, undercapitalized, and more. Seemed more knowledgeable but audience eyes glazed over a bit.

Mike Trout on the Spending Question

Mike Trout is running for Congress. The 21st district includes West Boca. Here is his answer to the spending question:
I’m sorry I missed the original posting regarding the Spending Question. I’ll agree with Cesar that taking away corporate entitlements, that in the face of unprecedented profits, are not needed.
There are already eligibility tests for social programs, however, and in fact we know that these programs are, if anything — underutilized. When I say underutilized, I don’t mean to suggest that we don’t spend a significant sum on safety net programs that supplement the nutritional and health needs of children, seniors, the disabled, and unemployed — but the fact is that many more people ‘qualify’ for these programs than actually participate. What that says to me is that in this country, on this day, there are those among us who are going to bed hungry, and going without basic medical care and medicine. This, even as the corporations sit on cash reserves of historic and unprecedented proportions. We don’t have ‘money’ problems. We have a problem of committing resources where they are needed. There is a problem of greed and corruption. It’s not surprising. History is merely repeating itself. Are we listening?
Mike Trout, Vote4Trout

Candidate Question 2: West Boca

We asked the following question of various candidates:
Question 2:
The office you seek (County Commission, State House, State Senate, or
Congress) covers West Boca Raton and other communities. What issues do you
see as particularly relevant for the residents of West Boca?

We have published the responses we received to candidate question 1, from Paul Tocker, Melanie Peterson, James Ryan O’Hara, and Cesar Henao.
We did not receive answers from Senate candidate Geoffrey Sommers, State House candidates Steve Perman and Kevin Rader, or County Commission candidates Mary Lou Berger, Steven Meyer, and Rick Neuhoff.
Both Sommers and Perman initially responded by e-mail indicating they would answer our questions, but they did not respond to Question 1. The others did not respond at all.

Cesar Henao: The Spending Question

We received a response to the spending question from Cesar Henao, who is running for Congress in the 21st congressional district. Here is his response:
I support a balanced budget, and trimming federal spending so that budget surpluses can begin to pay off the national debt.
The simple answer I could give you would be to cut program ABC and D however our financial dilemma is much more complicated than that. What we need is a leader with a conviction to address across-the-board cuts that will lessen the impact of our senior citizens on fixed income, and the poor.
The challenge, however, is that you have two parties trying to protect their special interests and at the same time telling the American people It’s in their best interests. Taking away corporate and social entitlements to entities that do not deserve or need them, should be our Number one fiscal priority.
Budgeting for a government is far much more complex and different than budgeting for an organization or an individual family household. I would want to look at a line item by line item budget and give the president the ability to do line item vetoes. This helps to assure the president assumes much more responsibility for fiscal responsibility than the office has been given in the past.