GRAND JUNCTION, Colo (KKCO) - Club 20's US Senate Candidate Debate ran late Saturday night with, US Senate candidate Ken Buck and Senator Michael Bennet passing jabs as well as jokes as they answered questions on topics from water rights to energy.
The mediator started the debate by explaining who got to talk first. He says, "It started with a coin toss in the back room and in our debate Ken Buck was the winner."
Benet started out almost a little jovial, saying, "The winner of the coin toss, not the debate."
But it wasn't long before both US Senate candidates picked up a little steam, arguing over negative campaign ads.
The two did share some similar views, however; Buck and Bennet both said expanding national transportation shouldn't include a tax on gas and Buck suggested using general funds to supplement infrastructure growth.
Both candidates also backed heavy sanctions on Iran if the Middle Eastern country tried building nuclear weapons, and neither shied away from military force if necessary.
When asked if new environmental regulations seemed unfairly targeted to specific energy industries, Bennet expressed an urge to get everyone on the same page, saying, "I look forward to working with everybody across our state to make sure we are driving this new energy economy."
Buck was more adamant that they were. "We can not allow the federal government to pick winners and losers in the energy sector and we can not allow the state government to do the same, it's wrong," said Buck.
With former President George Bush's tax cuts expiring this year, the panel also asked about extending tax breaks, including those on the wealthy. Bennet says, "My main concern is that we extend the middle class tax cuts that were part of the Bush tax cuts." He went on to say renewing cuts for the wealthy should continue, but only for a short time. "Cutting taxes from the very wealthiest Americans, borrowing from the Chinese to pay for it and sticking our kids with the bill is not what I call fiscal responsibility," he says. Buck was in favor of keeping current tax models saying, "The folks that make over $200,000 are often the folks that hire the folks making under $200,000. If we increase taxes on those folks they're going to hire less and we are not going to get out of this recession."
Each candidate did say both parties were to blame for the current state of the nation and they were both working to fix it.