North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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April 23, 2014

Congressional candidates face questions, voters in Hoover and Hayden

Candidates for the June 3 Republican primary elections have made the rounds in the past week, facing everything from community centers filled with curious voters, to broadcast forums with questions posed by students in a government class in high school.

On Monday, the seven GOP candidates for the Sixth District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives squared off for the third time, this time in a forum produced by talk-radio station WERC and held at Hoover High School. Most of the questions were asked by HHS students.

State Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale drew laughs when asked about his views on alternative fuels.

“It’s hard to drive a car with a windmill on top. It doesn’t work well under overpasses,” he quipped.

Rep. Paul DeMarco of Homewood touted his work in the Alabama State House, where he’s represented the over-the-mountain area since 2005. He and Beason are the only candidates in the race who have ever held public office.

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was mentioned prominently. Will Brooke, an executive with Harbert Corporation who’s gained fame for a video where he shot holes in a copy of the law, pushed his conservative views and business experience. Dr. Chad Mathis, a surgeon from Indian Springs Village, spoke of his plan to replace Obamacare, while businessman Tom Vignuelle of Pelham described how the act had directly affected his company and his family with greatly-increased insurance premiums.

About the only conflict came when Robert Shattuck, a retired attorney who’s rarely ventured away from his belief that “Congress is broken,” drew the ire of WERC’s Leah Brandon.

“So are you basically saying that you’re not going to answer any questions here, or give us any specifics, because you want Congress to be fixed first?” Brandon asked as a follow-up to a student’s question.

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