UNIVERSITY PARK — Elections for the Florida House of Representatives District 67 seat are still months away, but three of four Republican candidates faced off during a debate hosted by the Lakewood Ranch Republican Club March 19 at the University Park Country Club.
Candidates Dr. Bob McCann, Jeremiah Guccione and Greg Steube tackled audience questions on everything from offshore oil drilling and gambling to the class size amendment.
“As a former candidate, one of the hardest things to do is to get your message to the people,” club President Dr. Craig Trigueiro said. “This was a chance for people to ask (the candidates) questions instead of getting information from (pre-made mailers).”
Debate attendee Heather Goldin said she was impressed with each candidate for different reasons.
“I wish they could all win,” she after the meeting. “I really liked what each one of them (said). I feel comfortable with any of them (in office).”
Marie Nisco, the remaining Republican candidate, chose not to participate because of the debate format, Trigueiro said.
Below are a few questions asked of participating candidates and portions of their responses.
What will be your top three priorities if elected?
Jeremiah Guccione: “Jobs. Jobs. And jobs. We need to be one of the most pro-business (states in the country). … Businesses will not move to the state to be sued. Businesses will not move to the state if there’s not a well-qualified, educated workforce.”
Dr. Bob McCann: “We have to lower taxes and deregulate so we can create jobs. The second thing is to save money in healthcare. The third thing is agricultural industry. They took a big hit with the frost.”
Greg Steube: “The most important thing right now is focusing on economic growth and small business development, reviving the economy and providing good-paying jobs and controlling the state budget and reducing taxes.”
What is your position on offshore drilling for oil and gas supplies in Florida’s coastal waters?
Guccione: “I don’t believe either side of the argument has been intellectually honest. This is something that is being studied now by a lot of non-partisan groups. When those results (come in, I’ll decide). If the benefits outweigh the costs, then I’m all for it.”
McCann: “Drill baby, drill. Many countries are drilling off our coasts right now. There’s lots of advanced technology (we can use). I think it’s safe. We need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”
Steube: “We need to make sure we protect our tourism industry and the health of (the environment). We also have a great opportunity in Florida to go after solar and other resources. I think there’s a broad approach here we (could use).”
What is your position on the class-size amendment? Should the Constitution be amended to allow more students in each class category?
Guccione: “I think our Constitution shouldn’t be filled with policy. To measure our schools based on the number of seats in the classroom isn’t (right).”
McCann: “I believe education is local. The state should stay out of education altogether. I would be in favor of taking out any reference to classroom size.”
Steube: “The school board should be given the power of (deciding on) what affects (it). The bottom line is we need to make sure we have a good educational system in this state.”
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected]