David Jolly, Alex Sink, Lucas Overby debate for Congressional District 13 seat

11:36 PM, Feb 3, 2014   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida - The three candidates vying for C.W. Bill Young's former congressional seat faced off in a debate at St. Petersburg College Monday evening.

The candidates -- Republican David Jolly, Democrat Alex Sink, and Libertarian Lucas Overby -- solidified their positions on key issues, which include the Affordable Healthcare Act and immigration reform.

In the issue of so-called "Obamacare," the candidates reacted along party lines.

"It was founded on a premise that now has been called 'the lie of the year,' and how a candidate can defend Obamacare is beside me," said David Jolly.

While Libertarian candidate Lucas Overby remained in the middle, touting the positives and negatives of the law, Alex Sink said the law needs to stay and be improved.

"This Affordable Care Act has not been perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but my position is it should not be repealed because we cannot go back to where we were before," said Sink.

Another major issue that has rocked coastal Bay areas is skyrocketing flood insurance rates.

"The reason we have the national flood insurance program in the first place was that the private market was not working at all," said Sink, who wants adjustments to the law to stem steep increases in rates.

Jolly would like to create a federal program that would pool the risk among homeowners who face other catastrophic national disasters nationwide.

"The answer is not going to be in Washington. The answer is going to be in the private sector and Tallahassee, creating a more efficient product to improve products," said Jolly.

Overby said he is in favor of suspending increases for four years to work on a solution to rate increases.

For all the candidates, their stance on immigration reform remained along party lines.

Sink said she supports a bipartisan senate plan that would offer legal status to immigrants.

"I enjoy the concept that Obamacare is a broke law so we have to get rid of it, but immigration is a broken law ... we have to keep that. That's outright silly," said Overby.

Jolly held firm in his belief that illegal immigrants return to their country of origin and apply for legal status the way everybody does.

"We are a loving, a caring nation, but we're also a nation of laws. It's important for those who have broken the law [to] recognize that," said Jolly.

There were contentious issues among two of the candidates. Sink attacked Jolly as just another Washington insider after leaving the employ of former Congressman Young.

"He goes across to K Street, which is where all the lobbyist hang out, and hire himself out to client so that he could curry favor back, so that he could take advantage of his relationships in Congress," said Sink.

For his part, Jolly accused Sink of being a carpetbagger, having moved to Pinellas County to run for the district seat.

"I have been working in Pinellas County for 25 years in business though banking, through serving in corporate boards here, and though my charitable work," Sink responded.

A special election will be held on March 11th for the District 13 seat.

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