Boyda, Jenkins debate over war, taxes
TOPEKA — From the war in Iraq to tax policy, U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Topeka, and her Republican challenger State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins, also of Topeka, verbally sparred Wednesday over numerous issues affecting voters in the 2nd Congressional District.
Jenkins faces Boyda in the Nov. 4 election to represent the district that includes west Lawrence, Topeka, Manhattan and most of southeast Kansas.
The hour-long forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters was televised live on KTWU public television in Topeka and will be rebroadcast at 9 p.m. Oct. 28.
Jenkins went on the attack, saying Boyda, a first-term lawmaker, and the Democratic majority in Congress had been given an opportunity to solve problems, but failed.
“I expect results, and I see nothing,” Jenkins said.
She accused Boyda of voting for the largest tax increase in the history of the United States.
Boyda said that wasn’t true and chided Jenkins for using the kind of attack that Jenkins decried when used on herself in the August Republican Party primary.
A nonpartisan budget study group has said the tax increase claims made by Jenkins and other Republicans against Boyda and other Democrats are not true.
Meanwhile, Boyda challenged Jenkins to join her in calling for an end to billions of dollars in subsidies to large oil companies. But Jenkins said she would oppose any kind of tax increase.
The two candidates also clashed over the war in Iraq. Boyda has been a critic of President Bush’s handling of the war and said the conflict has hurt national security by overstretching the military.
“Our enemies know how much we are strained,” Boyda said.
Jenkins said mistakes had been made in the war, but that ridding the country of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has made the world safer.
On the current economic problems being debated in Congress, Boyda voted against the proposed $700 billion bailout in the House on Monday. Jenkins said she supported that decision. And both candidates said the new Senate bailout plan was an improvement but that it needed further work.
The two candidates had a dustup over the recent decision last year to increase the federal minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 over three years.
Jenkins said she didn’t support a federal minimum wage, declaring, “I’m a free-market girl.” After the forum, she said she had meant that she opposed the increase because she said it was hurting small businesses.
Both candidates were asked about the presidential candidates. Jenkins praised the White House ticket of U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. “They are mavericks, both of them,” Jenkins said.
Boyda said she planned to vote for her party’s ticket — U.S. Sens. Barack Obama of Illinois and Joe Biden of Delaware. But she said whichever team wins, “it’s going to be historic.”
Boyda and Jenkins are scheduled to meet again at 7 p.m. Monday at a forum at the Dole Institute of Politics on Kansas University’s West Campus.