By Deb Murphy
Maybe incumbent Congressman Paul Cook and Democratic challengers Rita Ramirez and Ronald O’Donnell thought Inyo County was locked up or not do-able, respectively. For whatever reason all three were no-shows at Tuesday’s Independence Civic Club voter education forum.
Republican Tim Donnelly did show up. Democrat Marge Doyle responded to the three set questions in writing. The two are political polar opposites.
For his introductory comments, Donnelly described himself as a hard-core American patriot, promising a staffed office in Bishop.
Doyle, an RN currently on the board of the Morongo Healthcare District, got into the race over frustration with Cook’s attitude toward the Affordable Care Act.
On the prepared question of protecting Inyo’s natural resources, Donnelly’s answer was for Inyo to “free itself from the feds,” calling for more private ownership and encouraging more business development. Doyle saw protecting public lands as the cornerstone of Inyo’s tourism industry. She would also put together a task force of stakeholders to look into water issues in Owens Valley.
On immigration, Donnelly supports the wall as well as a revamped legal immigration system allowing people with “skills we need” into the country. Doyle feels immigration policies have to “be informed by compassion,” noting the impact on agriculture and other sectors of the economy. She called for a temporary worker permit as well as a viable avenue to citizenship.
Funding for cultural education and activities got a rise out of Donnelly who would fund hospitals but not the arts. Doyle wants to strength culture and education as well as bring a four-year college to the 8th District. Donnelly asked how the college would be paid for, noting the drain on budgets.
The audience then posed questions. When asked why money was well-spent on the wall but not education, Donnelly’s response: “that’s a dumb question.”
He doesn’t think Social Security is an entitlement since recipients pay into it, but he feels Social Security is a fraud.