Decision 2008: Candidates Speak During WSFA Forum

Montgomery, AL (WSFA) -- It's the first time all but one of the candidates came together to speak their minds and tell voters why they should be elected to serve District Two in Washington.

They come from all walks of life.  Many of the candidates have years of public service under their belts, while others tout a fresh outlook and an independence from the political realm.

When asked about agribusiness and the military here at home, all candidates expressed a need to support the two vital aspects of the district's economy.

"If we continue along this same path, many of the small farms will be out of business, and I pledge to make sure that doesn't happen," explained Dr. Craig Schmidtke, a Republican.

"Our military bases are important to our economy.  We need a strong defense," said Democrat Cheryl Sabel.

Republican candidate Jay Love says the district needs to stay the course on both issues.

"Congressman Everett, who served on the Armed Services and Agricultural committees had it right.  I believe that [. . .] the next Congressman from the 2nd Congressional District needs to be on those two committees," he explained.

Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright, however, claims he's one step ahead of the pack.

"I've been given a commitment to be placed on the armed services committee and the [Agricultural] committee," Bright told viewers.

Healthcare is another problem plaguing the country.  For the most part, candidates said, it's a balancing act between bills and well being.

"It's a tossup now because of the credit crunch," explained Republican John Martin.  "Are [Alabamians] going to support their family with basic necessities or insurance?"

"If elected to Congress, I will work to insure that people have access to a public health service," pledged Dr. Cendie Crawley, a Democrat.

Other candidates want the Federal Government to stay out of residents' private lives.

"If we get the U.S. Government into healthcare, it will absolutely ruin healthcare.  We're not a nation of entitlement," explained Republican David Grimes.

Finally, we asked the candidates about loosening the country's dependence on foreign oil.

Bobby bright mentioned biodiesel and a plant already used for Montgomery's municipal vehicles, while his Republican counterparts spoke of untapped resources here at home.

"We need to look for alternative fuels.  We need to drill in the Gulf and in Alaska, under [the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge]," said Republican candidate David Woods.

So with eight out of nine candidates, and three important issues on the table, each made his or her case on live television--in hopes of making it all the way to Capitol Hill.

NOTE: Republican Harri Anne Smith could not attend Friday's forum due to a prior political commitment.

Reporter:  Cody Holyoke