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Lynn University hosts Klein vs. West in heated U.S. Congressional debate
Published Oct. 13, 2010
Lynn University, in partnership with the Sun Sentinel, hosted a heated debate between Broward-Palm Beach County’s District 22 U.S. Congressional candidates, Democrat Ron Klein and Republican Allen West, on Oct. 12.
President Kevin M. Ross welcomed the crowd of over 800 attendees while the contenders, Klein and West, were brought to the stage in Lynn’s brand new, state- of-the-art, Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center. Antonio Fins, the Sun Sentinel’s opinion page editor, served as the referee – or as everyone else calls him, the moderator. Fins laid down the ground rules, and the bell sounded.
While both men outlined their plans for the future of Broward-Palm Beach, West said, “I think I’m a pretty fun guy,” in his opening remarks. “You may be fun, but these are serious times,” countered Klein.
The three-member panel included Doug Lyons, a Sun Sentinel editorial board member, Anthony Man, a Sun Sentinel political reporter and Carlos Sanz, a Lynn student. The panelists asked multiple questions to the candidates – including some rather controversial ones about race, taxes, national security and healthcare.
West, a 22-year army veteran, spoke like a commander to his troops yesterday afternoon, adding his own character and charisma to his points, claiming,"No I’m not a 'big boogy man'," in response to a question regarding his race. And he remained steady through hotly debated topics such as government spending, healthcare and how to control the rising U.S. deficit.
Getting straight to business, Klein offered the public assurance of his stand to unite Washington, D.C., and used his upbringing – as a teacher's and small business owner’s son – to aid his support in understanding what Florida really needs, stating, “I’ve been there, I understand what’s going on in this community.”
“Courage, competence, conviction, commitment and character,” is how West described his vision of leadership. His message focused on "the issues that are prevalent and pertinent – such as the unemployment rate.”
Klein’s answers were focused mostly on the local community and private sector jobs, and a plea to create a permanent and stable tax system. He argued that businesses receiving benefits for shipping jobs overseas was “not okay,” that jobs must be created here and he will go “line by line” to create growth and reduce debt.
Klein continued to support the new health care bill saying, “medicare wasn’t born in a day.” However, West’s rebuttal pointed out that he’s “not going to a tanning both” – a comment made in reference to 11 new taxes imposed by the new bill and issued support toward a free market. “You need to be in charge of your health,” said West.
In closing, Klein said we are going through tough times, and we “have a long way to go.” However he assured the crowd saying, “I’m not going to stop fighting until everyone in South Florida who wants a job gets a job,” and giving a bottom line of, “at the end of the day you want solutions, you want people who will work well with other people, you want people who get things done.”
“My focus is on you,” said West before exiting. Putting the burden on people and continuing to tax them is not the right way because "they will not produce." Most importantly we must “protect your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness,” said West.
Hosting the 2010 Klein-West Congressional Debate was part of Lynn’s continuing effort to bring compelling speakers and renowned thought leaders to South Florida to open dialogues on important, far-reaching issues.