Incumbent Senator Deb Fischer and challenger Lincoln City Councilwoman Jane Raybould squared off in what will likely be their only debate Monday morning at the Nebraska State Fair. They touched on several topics in the event sponsored the the Omaha World-Herald and KMTV 3. Questions asked of them covered healthcare costs, immigration, international trade, federal tax bill. They were also able to ask one question of each other and also some viewer questions as well.
Sen. Fischer said there needs to be more price transparency in health care procedures along with containing presription drug costs as part of addressing healthcare. Raybould said Fischer voted for legislation that pushed healthcare costs up, including premium increases on the middle class. Raybould advocated for expanded access.
As for international trade, Fischer praised President Donald Trump’s efforts to “stand-up” to China saying they cheat and steal intellectual property as well as patents. Though Fischer parted with the Administration saying tariffs were “not the way to go” on balancing trade. Raybould said Fischer voted against a measure that would have ended the current trade war. Raybould said producers want trade and not bail-outs.
On the federal tax reform bill, Raybould said she supports tax cuts for the middle class and small businesses. She accused Fischer of supporting “massive” and “permanent” tax cuts for the largest corporations while “temporary”, “meager” tax cuts for families. Fischer described the measure as a “pro-growth bill” pointing to statistics related to increased consumer confidence and that Americans were keeping more money in their pocket as a result.
Raybould said Fischer often votes with the President’s position throughout the debate. Fischer responded that she “votes for Nebraskans” and said the President knows when she disagrees with him…including issues on No Child Left Behind and Common Core.
The candidates also fielded questions on the Russia investigation, Veteran’s benefits. On school shootings, Fischer referred to more need in the mental health field and tools to make sure that people who shouldn’t have guns “don’t have them”. Raybould said mass shootings are happening with greater frequency and supported “common sense solutions”. She also advocated for a ban on “bump stock” accessories for guns and pointed to the Lincoln City Council in approving such a measure.
Each candidate was asked on what issue they would not compromise? For Raybould, it was “protecting our seniors” through maintaining social security and medicare…”we need to keep our promise to them”. Fischer said she would not compromise on her core principle of being pro-life.
Both candidates were asked about the hardest decision they have made in pubic office. Fischer referred to her years as a state senator and support of the death penalty. She recalled the feeling in the legislative chamber surrounding that vote. Raybould noted she is for fiscal stewardship and balanced budget. But, she identified a vote on privatizing a community mental health center as her most difficult decision as an office holder.