In AETN debate, 3rd District candidates support Trump, clash elsewhere

by Steve Brawner ([email protected]) 350 views 

U.S. 3rd District Rep. Steve Womack, a Republican, and his opponent, Libertarian Steve Isaacson, agreed they both support Donald Trump for president but disagreed about Internet taxes and marijuana policy in their debate Monday.

The debate was live-streamed as it occurred at 10 a.m. and will be televised Monday (Oct. 10) on AETN at 7 p.m.

Two of the 10 questions during the 52-minute debate focused on Trump. Womack said Trump’s comments on the recently released 2005 recording where he boasted about groping women were “disgusting, insulting and really indefensible from a human being point of view.” However, he said America is at a crossroads and the presidential election remains a contest of ideas, and Republicans have the better ideas about the Supreme Court, taxes, regulations and Obamacare.

“My support is still with the nominee of our party, and it will be that way until such time that we have other alternatives, but those other alternatives aren’t there presently,” he said.

Isaacson said while he is running on the Libertarian ticket, he supports Trump because “the man talks from the heart and he means what he says.”

The two clashed on other issues. Womack has long been a strong supporter of what is now called the Remote Transaction Parity Act, which would allow states to enforce sales tax collections by out-of-state merchants. He said he supports the act to ensure local retailers are treated fairly and to fund local government services.

“Look, it’s not my mission in life to try to raise taxes on anybody, but what I do believe should happen is that the playing field should be level for everyone,” he said.

Isaacson said the law would be an internet tax without a cut.

“People are tired of paying taxes. Tax is nothing but theft anyway,” he said.

The two also disagreed when asked if they would support matching federal law to Arkansas law if voters approve a measure legalizing medical marijuana. Womack said marijuana is a stepping stone to further drug use and said he has had personal experiences in his family with the damage caused by illicit drug use. Isaacson said he supports legalizing medical marijuana because cannabis is a plant he has seen help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and seizures.

The two mostly agreed when asked about comprehensive immigration reform. Womack said comprehensive reform cannot be accomplished unless the border is secured first. Once that occurs, other aspects of immigration reform could be discussed. Isaacson largely agreed but said problems should addressed regarding the bureaucratic process of becoming a citizen.

The two also agreed about United States policy toward Syria. Womack criticized the Obama administration for failing to provide leadership, saying the United States should be more involved in the war there and that there has been “a void of leadership from the rational thinkers in this world.” He said the United States should have worked to remove Syria’s leadership and should have helped provide safe zones in that country. He said the country should “have the stop sign out” on refugees unless it has a “failsafe vetting process.”

“The fact is, America is sitting on its hands right now while that region … of the world continues to burn,” he said.

Isaacson said he agreed, saying he opposed bringing Syrian refugees to Arkansas.