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District 17 candidates debate issues at BU

Jan. 28, 2004

By Hanson Knox, reporter

The Heart of Texas Young Republicans hosted a debate Tuesday between congressional District 17 Republican primary candidates Col. Dave McIntyre, Dr. Dot Snyder and Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth, R-Burleson.

Residents in District 17, which comprises 11 central Texas counties including Bosque and McLennan counties, will vote on March 9 to decide which Republican candidate will challenge Democratic incumbent Chet Edwards for a seat in Congress.

Each candidate was given two minutes to explain their stance on a variety of issues that included immigration, homeland security and how to go about unseating Edwards.

All three candidates expressed concern about President Bush's amnesty program for illegal immigrants and stressed the need for stricter policies regarding the nation's borders.

'A nation that does not control its borders is not a nation,' said McIntyre, who spent 30 years in the Army. Both Snyder and Wohlgemuth echoed McIntyre's sentiments, calling for accountability, more control and stricter punishment for illegal immigrants and their employers.

All three candidates had high praise for President Bush's homeland security policy, but stressed the need to preserve civil liberties of Americans.

When asked about prescription drugs and the need to support Medicare while balancing the budget at the same time, the candidates offered mixed solutions.

Wohlgemuth stressed the importance of providing care to seniors without 'breaking the bank.' Wohlgemuth said her experience and success in balancing the Texas budget and saving taxpayers nearly one billion dollars while serving under then_Governor Bush set her apart from the other candidates.

Snyder described Bush's bill as a 'good conservative bill' that promotes much-needed prescription benefits to seniors.

When asked how each candidate would beat incumbent Edwards, Wohlgemuth said her conservative voting record would give her an edge over Edwards' liberal voting trend.

McIntyre said his extensive experience in the military would give him an edge over Edwards.

Snyder made reference to her strong roots in McLennan County as a valuable asset going into the primary election.