In the past few months, I have been talking with various campaigns (advising on the QT) since I have been somewhat swamped this year with business initiatives across the board. One of the teams I spoke with is the Democratic contender for the Congressional seat in Florida 13th, Mrs. Christine Jennings.
In my conversations with her Campaign Manager and her Communications Director, I learn a lot about the differences between the two candidates and asked for a comparison between the two candidates. Following is a breakdown of both Vern Buchanan’s positions/actions as Congressman and Ms. Jennings’ positions on the issues.
Full disclosure: these statements come from the Jennings Campaign and I did not receive any contradictory information from the Buchanan Campaign.
On the Economy
- Christine Jennings is committed to middle-class tax relief through a range of policies, including raising the estate tax exemption, making higher education more affordable, providing relief from skyrocketing homeowners’ insurance rates, ending the marriage penalty and extending child and small business tax credits.
- Vern Buchanan has voted twice against bills on the Alternative Minimum Tax that would provide relief to millions of taxpayers (including 50,000 people in Florida’s 13th Congressional District alone) while eliminating loopholes and tax breaks that favor hedge fund managers, certain foreign-owned companies and the oil and gas industry. (HR 6275, 6/08 and HR 3966, 11/07)
- Christine Jennings was against the war in Iraq from the beginning and believes we must move quickly and responsibly to end the war, bringing our men and women in uniform home safely.
- After returning from Iraq in April 2007, Vern Buchanan said it was like “Mission: Impossible” over there for our troops. (Sarasota Herald Tribune, 4/17/07) A year later, his spokesman said that Buchanan “continues to support President George W. Bush’s views on the war.” (Sarasota Herald Tribune, 4/16/08)
On the Environment
- Christine Jennings has been endorsed by the Sierra Club, Clean Water Action and Ocean Champions. She also supports the Safe Climate Act, which has several key provisions that will lead to dramatic emissions reductions.
- Vern Buchanan has refused to sign on with 155 other members of Congress in co-sponsoring the Safe Climate Act. He’s also refused to fill out Greenpeace’s global warming survey or participate in their forums on this pressing issue.
On Energy Independence
- Christine Jennings supports increasing CAFE standards to at least 50 mpg. She also supports a federal renewable energy standard of at least 25 percent by 2025.
- Vern Buchanan has voted against renewable energy legislation (HR 3221, 8/07) and new gas mileage standards for cars and light trucks (HR 6, 12/06) all while taking thousands in campaign contributions from oil and energy companies.
On Medicare and Social Security
- Christine Jennings is committed to ensuring that Social Security and Medicare remain strong for both current beneficiaries and future generations. That’s why she’s been endorsed by the National Committee to Protect Social Security and Medicare.
- Vern Buchanan voted against a bill that would have expanded Medicare funding for low-income beneficiaries and eliminated the late enrollment penalty for the Medicare prescription drug program. (HR 3162, 8/07)
On Children’s Health Care
- Christine Jennings supports full funding for S-CHIP and other programs for the health of Florida’s children – more than 800,000 of whom lacked health insurance in 2006.
- In 2007, Vern Buchanan voted against expanding health care for children, saying doing so was fiscally irresponsible. (HR 3162, 8/07)
On the Issue of Choice
- Christine Jennings believes in a woman’s right to choose, and that abortion should be safe, legal and rare. She has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood Action Fund and NARAL Pro-Choice America.
- Vern Buchanan’s views are far outside the mainstream, opposing abortion in all cases, even rape, incest and to save the mother’s life.
On Stem Cell Research
- Christine Jennings will be a leader in the fight for stem cell research, providing hope for the millions of Americans suffering from diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
- Vern Buchanan voted against federal funding for stem cell research. (S 5, 6/07; also voted against HR 3, 1/07, the similar House bill.)
Truthfully, from my understanding of the work that Mr. Buchanan has done as Congressman in the 13th District, I would much rather have Ms. Christine Jennings represent us. What surprised me was the stories I have since learned about Vern Buchanan (seen on YouTube here and here) regarding his way of managing his own campaign. Not someone i would want representing me in Congress, I can tell you.