Posted: Oct 11, 2012 11:20 AM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
HELENA - We will be airing our first live debate of this campaign cycle on Saturday when Republican Steve Daines and Democrat Kim Gillan square off in their race for Montana's lone U.S. House seat.
State Political Reporter Marnee Banks recently spent some time with the candidates on the campaign trail, and the two readily admit that they don't see eye-to-eye on the issues.
Daines is a private businessman from Bozeman who says he believes the nation needs more jobs and less government, saying that "we face a $16 trillion debt."
Gillan is a former State Senator from Billings who believes America needs a problem solver.
"We only have one voice in the US House of Representatives," she said.
Daines told us that his top three priorities are creating jobs, balancing the federal budget and reducing federal regulations.
"I don't believe we need to raise taxes to solve the problems in this country. This is primarily a spending issue. It's not a revenue issue in Washington. So, I think we need to look across the board and nothing is off-limits and we need to be looking at how every agency, every department comes to the table now finding ways to do more with less. Then we are going to have to go back and look at across the board reductions in spending," he said.
Gillan agrees the federal government needs to tighten its belt, but she says there are some programs which are just off-limits.
"Without Social Security and Medicare, without those two programs, 58% of Montana's senior citizens would be living below the poverty line," she said.
Daines says he supports reforming the Medicare system and allowing future retirees to purchase their health insurance on the private market as part of his fundamental belief that the federal government is too big. He also backs a balanced budget amendment as well as the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
"I call it the unaffordable healthcare act, we can't afford this," he said.
Gillan says she supports the law, adding that Congress instead needs to focus on making the tax system more fair for the middle class by closing tax loopholes on big corporations. She says she will support bills which put Montanans back to work through workforce development programs and infrastructure projects.
"Here we are driving along the Interstate, without some federal dollars we would not be able to maintain this interstate. We just passed two trucks, they are shipping good and services in and out of Montana. So, I am not too sure how the catch phrase of less government more jobs really is going to have a positive influence on Montana's economy," she explained during a recent road trip.
One thing is clear about these two candidates, they see the role of the federal government very differently.
The Montana Television Network will host a debate between Daines and Gillan that will air Saturday at 9 p.m. and it will be live streamed on our websites. It will be followed by post-debate coverage on the 10 p.m. news.