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Candidate fuels kerfuffle at Kingman forum

Suzanne Adams/Miner

Supervisor Buster Johnson watches Clair van Steenwyk speak at the Republican Forum Wednesday evening.

Bryan Hackbarth demands video, film cameras be turned off

KINGMAN - One Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat caused a bit of a stir at the Republican Forum Wednesday evening when he demanded that all video and film cameras be turned off.

At least two people were videotaping the event and there was one person taking photos.

Candidate Bryan Hackbarth said his opponent, he didn't clarify which one, is known for using snippets of video against him.

The request brought a rumble of disagreement from the crowd that threatened to turn into a growl before Forum President Sandi Reynolds stated that organizers could not infringe on First Amendment rights.

Reynolds then went on to the next question for the two candidates who attended the event. Four Republican candidates were invited, but only Hackbarth and Clair van Steenwyk were able to attend.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake sent Mohave County Board of Supervisors Chairman Buster Johnson to represent him. After briefly describing Flake's accomplishments and past experience as a state and federal legislator, Johnson directed the audience to Flake's website, www.jeffflake.com. He declined to answer any questions on Flake's behalf, saying he would rather have people get the information directly from Flake's campaign staff.

Wil Cardon, another candidate, was reportedly stuck in traffic and unable to make the meeting.

Van Steenwyk told the crowd that he grew up in Bellflower, Calif., in a Christian family. He got involved in politics in 1956 with Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower's campaign. He has served as an executive in several food companies in California and also ran a property development business and an antique shop. He is currently working as radio talk show host at KXXT 1010 AM in Phoenix.

He and his wife also operated outreach facilities for people in Los Angeles and Mexico.

Hackbarth is a former mayor of Youngtown, Ariz. Voters recalled him from office in 2006 after he voted with three other town council members to terminate the town manager's contract. He and his wife own a cleaning business.

Both candidates described themselves as men with strong Christian values. They both said they were running for office because they didn't like the way the country was going, that the federal government needed to return to the Constitution and states needed to assert their rights.

Neither was in favor amnesty or the Dream Act for illegal immigrants. Van Steenwyk pointed out that most of the illegal immigrants in the U.S. were people who overstayed their visas and could easily be located and deported.

Hackbarth said the boarder needed to be secured first and that trying to round up every single illegal immigrant would be too costly.

Hackbarth and van Steenwyk agreed that Don't Ask, Don't Tell should not have been eliminated and the government shouldn't condone same sex marriage.

Neither man was in favor of abortion. However, Hackbarth said he would rather give women a legal abortion option than have them go through back alley abortions.

Hackbarth said he struggled with the issue a few years ago when he and his wife found out that their youngest child might be born with developmental disabilities. He was glad the child was born and said he would take 10 more children like her.

When it came to the federal budget, Hackbarth said the corporate tax rate should be cut to encourage businesses to move back to the U.S. He also stated that Social Security and Medicare should be left alone and all departments that were not listed in the Constitution should be eliminated.

However, spending on defense should be increased, he said. The military had the personnel but not the equipment to defend the nation or invade another country to protect U.S. interests.

Van Steenwyk said he was in favor of a flat tax rate for all and Social Security and Medicare should be put back into a lockbox. The military didn't need any additional funding, he said.

When it came to using the natural resources of the nation, both men said states needed to have more control over the processes and the Environmental Protection Agency and the federal government needed to butt out.

Neither van Steenwyk nor Hackbarth thought that wind or solar power were viable alternatives at this time and even though drilling for oil in the U.S. would not lower the price of gasoline, it would increase U.S. energy security.

Both agreed that something needed to be done with the trade imbalance between the U.S. and China. Hackbarth suggested that for every dollar in tariffs China puts on American goods, the U.S. should add a dollar tariff to Chinese goods.

Hackbarth also suggested getting rid of most agricultural regulations and subsidies. He grew up on a farm and farmers know the best way to take care of their animals and crops, he said.

He said he disagreed with Flake on earmarks. He saw no problem with funding earmarks for programs that are desperately needed by communities, such as roads or infrastructure.

Van Steenwyk said money that the states get from the federal government for roads, infrastructure and other programs should be removed from the federal taxes a state collects before the money is sent on to the federal government. States shouldn't have to beg the federal government for money that is rightfully theirs, he said.

Both agreed that federal education dollars should follow the student. A parent should have the final decision on what type of school their child attends.

In closing, both candidates said they were more interested in turning the country around than the trappings of political office and wouldn't mind serving only one term.

The Kingman Republican Men's Club will host candidates for the two Arizona House of Representatives seats at 11:30 a.m. on May 21 at the Elks Club, 900 Gates Ave. The fee is $13, which includes lunch. For more information, contact Dr. Laurence Schiff at 530-3637.


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