The Jessica Morse for Congress campaign and the Rep. Tom McClintock campaign accepted two debate invitations, one from the Mariposa Gazette, and the other from the Lake Tahoe Resort Association and Sierra Business Council, according to email exchanges between the two campaigns two weeks ago.
Morse and McClintock are candidates running in California’s 4th Congressional District election.
Spanning the Sierra Nevada from Truckee to the Sequoia National Forest, the 4th District covers Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Mariposa and Tuolumne counties, in addition to portions of Fresno, Madera, Nevada and Placer counties.
Being the most populous state, California has 53 congressional representatives.
The role of a U.S. state representative is to introduce or support laws and amendments, and to serve as political spokespeople for constituents on issues that are important to their state and district over a two-year term.
McClintock, 62, is the incumbent U.S. representative for California’s 4th Congressional District; he has served since 2009.
McClintock described his work writing the Tahoe Restoration Act in 2015, a law to provide forest fire prevention in the Tahoe Basin.
“I authored the law that is now expediting forest fire prevention in the Tahoe Basin and that is proving a model to be extended throughout the West,” McClintock said. “My legislation to expedite new water storage passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate.”
McClintock also mentioned his ratings as the “best vote for taxpayers” by the National Taxpayers Union, “one of only two perfect voters in the House” by Citizens Against Government, and “the fifth most effective member of the House in the 114th Congress” by Insidegovernment.org.
McClintock went on to detail his experience as the chairman of the budget task force of “the largest caucus in Congress,” where he “authored a blueprint to get the federal budget back to balance, save Medicare and Social Security from impending insolvency and begin paying down the debt.”
McClintock’s challenger, Democratic nominee Morse, 36, comes from a national security strategist position.
“From serving as a civilian alongside our troops in Baghdad to serving as the Iraq country coordinator at the State Department where I cut waste from our Iraq aide budget, I’ve always put the interests of our country and community first,” Morse said of her achievements. “While I stood up for our national security abroad, I saw career politicians, like Tom McClintock, focus on short-sighted political wins instead of long-term solutions to our nation’s challenges and that’s when I realized we need public servants, not politicians in Congress.”
Debate topics varied between the two candidates.
McClintock listed “reviving the economy, securing our borders, restoring the health and resiliency of our forests, replacing Obamacare with a competitive and affordable system that puts the patient back in charge, and building new water storage” as subjects of importance.
McClintock also noted the repeal of SB1, the so-called gas tax – which will be on the ballot for the November general election – as a pressing topic of discussion for the debates. McClintock claimed that the tax stands “in stark contrast with the tax cuts Republicans enacted for working families – saving an average family in this district some $1,900.”
Morse accused McClintock of complaining about high costs of health care while “voting to cut health care for 300,000 people in our district because they have a pre-existing condition,” with reference to McClintock’s vote for the American Health Act to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“Tom McClintock rails against high taxes then votes for a tax bill that will add $1.9 trillion to our deficit and ultimately raise taxes on the majority of people here and across the country,” Morse said, referring to McClintock’s vote for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. “The people of our district work hard and deserve a partner who will bring people together and focus on the solutions rather than the problems. I look forward to discussing solutions with our neighbors at the upcoming debates.”
Both candidates said they are looking forward to the upcoming debates.
“I think the debates will offer voters a crystal clear choice between two very different visions for the future: whether we will continue the regulatory and tax relief that is producing the biggest economic expansion in 13 years, or whether we turn back to the heavy taxes and suffocating regulation that cost us a decade of economic growth and opportunity,” McClintock said.
Morse wants there to be more access to the debates for voters in the 4th District.
“I’m glad that Congressman McClintock finally agreed to debates in Mariposa and Tahoe, but I’m disappointed that he hasn’t agreed to any other debates in the district,” Morse said. “Voters across our district deserve to hear where both candidates stand on the issues. I will always be responsive to local concerns and will put good ideas into action no matter which party they came from. It’s time for a change and a fresh voice to represent our community.”
The Morse team is still looking for the opportunity to debate in the foothills and Roseville area, and have contacted TV stations in those areas about hosting a debate, Morse Campaign Manager Makaiah Mohler said.
Chris Baker, McClintock campaign political consultant and spokesman responded, “Tom is more than willing to debate his opponent anywhere subject to agreement.”
The Mariposa Gazette debate is slated for Sept. 23 at Mariposa County High School, 5074 Old Highway N, Mariposa, at 6 p.m.
Voters can tune into the debate live via KRYZ-98.5FM or on the KRYZ Radio website, according to Mariposa Gazette Editor Greg Little.
The Tahoe Debate was proposed to be held mid-September at the North Lake Tahoe Event Center in Kings Beach, though there has not been an official confirmation yet.
The Enterprise will provide the date and any other options for voters to view the Tahoe debate when that information is made available.