U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th, and Democratic challenger Elisabeth Motsinger shared a stage during an Alleghany County Kids Voting forum Friday evening, the first time they have appeared together this election season.
It wasn't a debate, but rather a forum run by schoolchildren who asked grown-up questions before an audience of about 30 people.
Foxx and Motsinger chatted cordially in the auditorium at Sparta Elementary School before the forum started.
Their biggest difference during the forum came with a question posed by Lilian Martinez, an eighth-grader at Sparta Elementary.
"My question for you is, 'What is your stance regarding Obamacare?'" Lilian said.
Motsinger, a physician assistant, talked about seeing patients trembling with terror because they were afraid they would not be able to afford health care.
"I have never met a person who I don't believe deserves basic health care," she said. "So I support the move towards health care for all Americans, and I hope we can make it an even stronger system so there is no child, no older person, nobody who is an American who goes without health care."
Foxx said that all Americans want to have the best health care they can possibly have.
"However, the stated goal of Obamacare was to bring down the cost of health care, to bring down the cost of health insurance," she said. "It has worked just the opposite. Insurance costs have gone up. The president promised that premiums would go down $2,500 a year for the average family if Obamacare was passed. Insurance premiums have gone up approximately $2,400 for the average family since Obamacare was passed. Health care costs have not come down. Insurance costs have not come down."
Jennifer Evans, a 10th-grader at Alleghany High School, asked the candidates how each would decrease government spending.
Foxx talked about the $16 trillion national debt as a burden for the students' future children and grandchildren.
"The reason we have a federal government is to provide for the defense of this nation," she said. "And many things that we do such as education and health care can and should be done at the state and local level. There's no real reason for the federal government to be involved in many of the areas it's involved in."
Motsinger said dealing with the deficit has to take two paths.
"One is, of course, looking at what spending is not absolutely necessary and the other is increasing tax rates on the wealthiest Americans," she said.
"So one of the first things I think we have to do is actually raise tax rates, marginal tax rates, on the very wealthy, because they are walking away with the farm and it's not right," she said.
Both candidates talked about their mountain ties in a newly drawn district that includes all or parts of 12 counties, including Forsyth, Ashe, Watauga, Alleghany, Rowan and Catawba.
Motsinger is a six-year member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education, who won re-election in 2010. She lives in Walkertown, and her husband grew up in Alleghany County. The family owns a Christmas tree farm in Glade Valley.
"We have land up here in Alleghany County, and I will be going to Washington representing the needs of citizens just like yourself," she said.
Foxx talked about representing Alleghany County for 10 years in the state senate, before being elected to Congress in 2004.
She talked about growing up in Avery County in a house with no electricity and no running water, and said she was neither complaining nor bragging, but "advocating for the wonderful country that we have that allows a person with an impoverished background like mine to be able to be elected to the highest legislative body in our land."
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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