Political notebook: Kissell and Hudson face off

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 21, 2012

AARP North Carolina, in partnership with Wingate University, will host a debate between the two candidates for Congress in North Carolina’s 8th District.
U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell, a Democrat, and Republican Richard Hudson will participate in the debate, which is free and open to the public. It will be held on Monday from 2 to 3:30 p.m., at the George A. Batte Jr. Fine Arts Center on the university campus, 403 N. Camden Road in Wingate.
Key topics will be issues most important to voters age 50 and over – the nation’s most active voters – and include the candidates’ plans for Social Security, Medicare and financial security.
Some of the questions the candidates are expected to address include:
? How would you protect Social Security for today’s seniors and strengthen it for future generations?
? How would you put Medicare on stronger financial ground and protect today’s seniors and future retirees from the burden of rising health costs?
? How would you help Americans build a financial nest egg for their retirement?gDemocrat Larry Kissell is facing pressure even when he’s not at a debate, and it’s coming from both sides of the aisle.
Back in July, the 8th district’s Congressional Black Leadership Caucus withdrew its support of Kissell after he said he would not be endorsing President Barack Obama.
Now, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has pulled a week of advertising it had reserved in North Carolina’s 8th district to support Kissell. Instead, it will launch its first independent expenditure advertisement against a Republican Congresswoman in California.
Andrea Bozek, spokesperson with the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a Friday press release that Democrats are “admitting… Larry Kissell’s tax-and-spend record is indefensible.” That includes his “lockstep support” for Obama’s new health care law.
Conservative American Action Network also has created a webpage criticizing Kissell at americanactionnetwork.org/kissellcuts. It says the Congressman “voted to cut his own district’s Medicare by over $1.36 billion” by preserving the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
But Kissell actually voted against the new health care law in 2010. So why do these two groups say he supports it?
In an interview Friday, Bozek said that by voting not to repeal the law after it passed, Kissell essentially voted to keep it. Kissell’s votes since then to repeal all or parts of the law were cast for “political reasons,” she said.
Christopher Schuler, Kissell’s campaign spokesperson, said Republicans are “grasping at straws” in order to blur the lines between Kissell and the Obama administration.
“He’s the only candidate in this race to ever vote against Obamacare,” Schuler said.
Kissell faces Republican challenger Richard Hudson in the Nov. 6 election.gToday, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan invites all North Carolina 7th through 12th grade students interested in applying to a U.S. military service academy to attend Academy Day.
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at the West Campus Auditorum of Forsyth Technical Community College, 1300 Bolton St. in Winston-Salem.
Representatives from the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, U.S. Military Academy, and U.S. Naval Academy will provide information to students, parents and guidance counselors. ROTC representatives will also be on hand to talk with interested students about scholarship opportunities outside of the service academies.
Hagan hosts Academy Day each year to give students an opportunity to meet with cadets and midshipmen from all five service academies.
Academy Day is also an opportunity for students to learn about the nomination process through Hagan’s office. Students who apply to service academies require a nomination from a member of Congress.