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Chamber Hosts Candidate Forum

8th Congressional District candidates present their views.

With a second forum scheduled in Alexandria the same evening, the three candidates speaking at the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce departed immediately after their closing remarks. They did, however, spend an hour with the audience prior to their departure.

Opening remarks gave U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) a chance to talk about his record and remind constituents of some of the things he’s done for his district.

“I see a lot of friends here and appreciate being asked to be here,” Moran said. He also spoke about how he received the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and how strong the economy is in his district.

Republican candidate Lisa Marie Cheney had the opportunity to explain why she’s running and why she’s the best candidate.

“You deserve a better representative in the United States Congress. This is my hometown and I understand the issues and the concerns,” Cheney said.

Independent candidate Jim Hurysz was able to introduce himself to chamber members, some of whom had not met him before. He spoke about his experience as a self-employed, small business owner, and said, “I know how to get things done. I feel it’s important to know what local government is doing, what policies are being made and how decisions affect the community.”

DAN RINZEL, who moderated the forum, then started the question-and-answer portion of the forum, asking the candidates questions submitted by the audience. The first was about the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 international accord setting limits on greenhouse gas emissions. All of the candidates said that they supported it on different levels.

Asked why people should vote for her instead of the incumbent, Cheney said that Moran is no longer an effective voice in this district.

Hurysz said he wasn’t taking money from major firms, unlike Cheney who, he said, is closely tied to major defense companies.

Moran said that he was the most experienced person for the job.

Cheney answered the next question about how she could keep Federal employees at current levels if she’s proposing government spending cuts. She said that she’s proposing cutting special interest spending and that she will stand by Federal employees. Moran said that he’s been endorsed by every Federal organization because of the work he’s done, and Hurysz said that it is important for us to have a qualified Federal workforce.

All of the candidates, when asked a question about maintaining fuel efficiency standards, agreed that the country should be working on energy-efficient vehicles. The candidates also supported affordable housing, but felt that there were different ways to provide for that.

The final question, directed to Moran, was about his decision to sponsor a bill to reinstate the draft. Moran said that it was not true that he was trying to reinstate the draft; rather he was using the legislation as a vehicle to take a look at who is being asked to serve the country and who is fighting the wars. Hurysz said that he served with draftees who were not enthusiastic and did not want to see the draft reinstated. Cheney said that she does not support the draft, and that her husband chooses to serve and she believes in the choice system.