DES MOINES, Iowa — The three Democrats running for Iowa’s Third Congressional District kept it civil with each other during their 90-minute debate on Thursday night in Des Moines. They agreed on far more than they disagreed, but some minor differences surfaced.
Here are several things voters learned about the candidates:
They all said climate change was the most dangerous threat to the United States.
They all hope Congress will pass a law to effectively get rid of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in the “Citizens United versus the Federal Election Commission” that decided political contributions are guaranteed under the First Amendment. The candidates decried the influence big donors have on the election and the “dark money” groups, which don’t have to disclose donors.
The candidates also agreed Congress should decriminalize marijuana possession, which they all said currently disproportionately impacts minorities.
But they disagreed on other matters.
All want to raise the minimum wage. Pete D’Alessandro, a longtime campaign strategist, said the wage should be at least $15 per hour, instead of the current $7.25 per hour.
Eddie Mauro, who owns an insurance business, provided a more complicated solution. Instead of a specific hourly figure, he suggested that anyone making less than $36,000 should also receive an earned income credit that would take their overall wages to $36,000-40,000 a year. The earned income credit is currently given to lower wage workers. A person making up to $15,010 a year can get the credit now, although there are higher limits for those with children.
Cindy Axne, who owns a design business, didn’t offer a specific wage. She said there are numerous factors that include the size of the city and how higher wages would impact small businesses.
The candidates also disagreed when it comes to providing more funding for Social Security. Individuals currently pay Social Security taxes on the first $128,400 of income per year.
Axne would change that level to $200,000-250,000 per year.
D’Alessandro would raise it to $200,000-225,000 annually.
Mauro would require individuals to pay taxes on the first $1 million per year.
The debate was sponsored by KCCI-TV and the Des Moines Register.