State Senator Ron Gould and Congressman Paul Gosar - the candidates for Arizona's 4th Congressional District's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives - faced off Thursday at the Mohave Republican Forum.
From immigration to defense, the two fielded numerous questions, making their opinions known to a relatively large group of Republicans at Lombardo's Sicilian Grill.
Gosar and Gould agreed that rounding up all the illegal immigrants and deporting them is unrealistic, as the resources to accomplish such an act simply aren't there.
The best way to deal with illegal immigration is for employers to follow the rule of law and not hire or offer benefits to people in the country illegally, Gosar said.
"Take incentives away and people will self-deport," he said.
As for John McCain and George W. Bush amnesty programs and the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, Gould and Gosar agreed that they're bad ideas, as they both essentially award bad behavior (coming into the country illegally).
Sexual Preference Legislation
"I don't support gay marriage," Gould said, adding that he sponsored Proposition 102 in 2008, which said that marriage is between one man and one woman. This is now the law of the land, he said.
The proposition, which passed, amended the Arizona Constitution and prevents judges and politicians from redefining marriage.
Gould said he supports federal legislation defining marriage because of activist judges throughout the nation interpreting the Constitution in whatever way they see fit.
Gosar agreed, and added that "Don't Ask Don't Tell" was a better way to deal with homosexuality in the military.
The right to life trumps all, according to Gosar.
"If you can't believe in life, you can't believe any other part of the Constitution," he said.
Again, Gould agreed.
There is no pursuit of happiness without life, he said. Gould also brought up his 100 percent record for casting pro-life votes, including recently when the State Legislature agreed to ban public funding to Planned Parenthood because it provides abortions.
Federal budget and spending
Gould said he's adamantly against raising the debt ceiling. A crisis must be forced in order to fix the problems, he added.
Gosar, who voted to raise the debt ceiling last summer, said a federal government shutdown would've basically guaranteed President Barack Obama a second term, as it did for President Bill Clinton after the government shut down twice for a total of 28 days in 1995 and 1996.
"The country cannot survive Barack Obama for another four years," Gosar said.
The two fielded questions regarding Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security's Supplemental Security Income as well.
Godar said an adult conversation that addresses reforming the three programs is in order. Without reform, the budget cannot be balanced, he said.
Both he and Gould suggested slowly raising the eligibility age for SSI.
"We cannot wait 20 years to fix this, folks," Gould said.
On government-provided health care, Gould said when someone else pays the bills people cease to care what things cost. When people pay their own way, though, they seek the best price for their care, and that's what this country needs to get back to, he added.
"I believe in a strong defense program," Gould said. "There is waste, though."
There's a need to rely more on a national missile defense system, he said, pointing to the fact that America bluffed the Soviet Union into bankruptcy by using the threat of the proposed Strategic Defense Initiative.
Gosar agreed, and added that the military's budget could use a trimming. Experts say there's $60 billion worth of waste in the military, he said. It behooves us to listen to those in charge, he added.
Is the country secure?
According to both candidates, it's not.
Iran's regime plotted to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador using Mexican cartels in the U.S. last year, Gosar said. There's a definite need to maintain a strong military, he added.
The two also responded to questions regarding, among other things, mining and energy, economic development and even gun control laws, and in many instances their responses were comparable to each other as well as party lines.
To conclude the evening, each candidate took a couple minutes to tell the audience why they should vote for him.
Gould suggested people take a look at both candidates' voting records because nothing else matters, as representatives are first and foremost elected to represent their constituents by casting votes. This seemed to be a dig at Gosar's "yes" vote to raise the debt ceiling last summer.
"I'm well suited to do this job," Gould said. "I'm the No. 1 conservative in the State Legislature," and that's according to the free-market Goldwater Institute, so it's not just rhetoric.
Gosar called himself a solution seeker, and made the statement: "You will not outwork me."
He told the audience that he's well prepared and goes out of his way to get things done that benefit people back home. Then he fired a shot across the bow of Gould's campaign, saying supermajorities make it easy to get things done and pass the buck onto cities.