September 14, 2010 (El Cajon) – The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host a debate among the three ballot-qualified Congressonal candidates in the 52nd Congressional District. Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-Alpine) will square off against challengers Ray Lutz, a Democratic community activist and businessman, and Libertarian Michael Benoit, a small business owner.
The event will take place Friday, October 15th at 7 p.m. in the Communication Arts Theater at Cuyamaca College, 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in El Cajon.
"It is the intent of the Chamber fo provide our community with an informative evening centering around the issues that are crucial to our East County citizens, businesses, schools and the community at large," the Chamber's announcement reads. "Please take the time to hear what the three candidates running for our seat in the House of Representatives want for our community and where they stand on the pivotal issues facaing our area and our nation this November."
Hunter’s campaign site states that he wants to repeal the Obama healthcare reforms, maintain strong national and border security, cut taxes to promote economic growth, and reduce dependence on foreign oil by drilling and building more nuclear facilities. A veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan War, he supports continued military operations in those regions. “For me, the central tenet of America is that our freedom is not granted to us by a man-made government, but is gifted to us from God and so may not e taken way by man…at least not without a fight,” his website states.
Lutz wants to foster energy independence through green/sustainable energy including solar manuafacturing facilities in East County and other Congressional districts. He supports a secure border and comprehensive immigration reforms. He has called for an end to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, says he supports appropriate military funding, and wants to end use of private military contractors such as Blackwater. “Join me in moving toward sanity and away from favors, dirty earmarks, cronyism, and a son inheriting his father's seat through name confusion,” Lutz’s website states.
Benoit wants to end both wars and cut government spending. He opposes all federal intervention in healthcare. He wants to “stop illegal immigration without a police state” and believes government should stay out of citizens’ private lives on issues such as gun rights and reproductive freedoms. “ We need to begin focusing on defending our own nation and stop defending every other country in the world,” his website states.
Lutz and Benoit went on hunger strikes in September to draw media attention to Hunter’s refusal to debate before absentee ballots were mailed out this week. They ended the strikes after Hunter announced he would participate in Friday’s debate.
Hunter's office tated that his legislative calendar prevented him from participating in debates earlier, however other members of San Diego's Congressional delegation returned to their districts during the same time period.
Friday's debate is free and open to the public. Audience members may submit written questions for the candidates. Doors open at 6 p.m. to meet the candidates; debate begins at 7 p.m.