Kendrick Meek in 2010 Florida Senate debates

On Tax Reform: Bush tax cuts killed surpluses; no more trickle-down

Rubio ruled out any compromise that doesn't extend all the Bush-era tax cuts enacted in 2001 & 2003, which are due to expire on Dec. 31. Obama favors extending the tax cuts only for households earning less than $250,000, about 98% of all taxpayers. Rubio argued that anything short of extending them for all Americans, poor & wealthy alike, would amount to a tax increase at a particularly vulnerable time.

Meek defended Obama's economic strategy, including the stimulus of 2009, as "dealing with the cards we were dealt" by the previous administration and the economic crisis that reached its peak in the fall of 2008. He said the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 were designed to be temporary and shouldn't be extended for the most-well-off Americans. "There were surpluses," he said. "There are no longer surpluses. So we're digging a deeper hole. And what Rubio and also Crist are representing, let's continue to dig, and trickle-down economics will work for the middle class in creating jobs."

Source: Business Week coverage of 2010 Florida Senate debate Oct 25, 2010

On Abortion: I have a 100% voting record on abortion, unlike Gov. Crist

Crist said he left the Republican Party this spring on principle, because the party had become intolerant: "The Republican Party and the right wing of that party went so far right," said Crist. "He wants to overturn--listen to me, women watching--overtur Roe vs. Wade. He does not support stem-cell research; you know, these are extreme views that I am not comfortable with."

Meek said Crist's decision was more pragmatic. "We know why the governor is running as an independent--because he couldn't beat Marco Rubio," Meek said. Meek was quick to block Crist's effort to outflank him on abortion.

Meek said he has "a 100 percent voting record when it comes down to a woman's right to choose" in his eight years in Congress. "He's been all over the board, first a Republican, then he became an independent," Meek said of Crist. As a state legislator, education commissioner, attorney general and governor, Crist mostly supported GOP positions on economic and "family values" issues.

Source: Ft. Myers News-Press coverage of 2010 Florida Senate debate Oct 24, 2010

On Budget & Economy: Grow the economy rather than applying ideology

Meek attacked Rubio, almost warning Floridians against him: "It's important that we grow this economy. It's the very reason we should not federalize Marco Rubio," Meek said. "He is thinking of ideology that would put the middle class in the hole forever. On his economic policies, Meek said, "I can tell you what Mr. Rubio is talking about is not a solution, it's ideology."

In a back-and-forth that defined their campaigns, Crist depicted Rubio as a conservative ideologue unable or unwilling to deviate from extreme views regardless of changing dynamics. "You know, facts change all the time," Crist said. "I think people want an open-minded senator rather than the opposite, a closed-minded senator."

Rubio "wouldn't accept tax cuts on 98% of the people in America because of his ideology," Crist said. "That's exactly the problem, that's what's not right with Washington today." While Crist advocated a compromise, Meek backed the Obama position.

Source: CNN ElectionCenter coverage of 2010 Florida Senate debate Oct 24, 2010

On Budget & Economy: For economic stimulus, ObamaCare, & repealing Bush tax cuts

There were obvious differences between Meek and Rubio. Meek supported the economic stimulus package and said it kept the country from going into a depression; Rubio said it was a failure. Meek said he would vote for the health care overhaul again and Rubio said it should be repealed. Meek wants to continue President George W. Bush's tax cuts for all except those who make more than $250,000, Rubio wants them extended for all earners.

"You think government creates jobs," Rubio said to Meek, cutting him off.

"No, I don't," Meek said.

"You do," Rubio said.

"I think tax cuts for small businesses create jobs and incentives for local communities to move forward," Meek said.

Crist added, "What you just witnessed is the problem and the reason I'm running as an independent. These two guys are going at each other because one's the Republican right, one's the Democratic left. What's true is there are good things that both parties can present to the future of our country."

Source: Associated Press coverage of 2010 Florida Senate Debate Oct 6, 2010

On Technology: Build high-speed rail to solve transportation problems

The action started with a question about how the candidates would draft legislation to create more jobs. Meek pushed for tax cuts for the middle class and high-speed rail, arguing building a railway will help create jobs in the state. "Transportation is a problem no matter where you live in Florida," added Meek.

"We have a jobs crisis," countered Greene. "It's not a job problem." The billionaire blamed elected officials, including Meek, for the record high unemployment in the state.

Source: 2010 Florida Dem. Primary Debate, in Sunshine State News Aug 11, 2010

On Government Reform: Sought earmarks for blighted area which benefited a donor

Greene highlighted Meek's connection to a Miami developer facing criminal charges who had paid Meek's mother, former US Rep. Carrie Meek, $90,000 as a consultant & gave her a Cadillac Escalade. Meek sought federal earmarks for the developer's inner-city project, and said his efforts were about reviving a blighted neighborhood and had nothing to do with his mother.

"Do you intend, if you're a US Senator, to continue to have your family members get cars, money, other kinds of benefits and then go ask for earmarks for the people providing these benefits?" Greene asked Meek. Meek unsuccessfully sought $4 million in federal money for the project and said he didn't know the developer had hired his mother.

Greene called on Meek to follow the lead of embattled NY Rep. Charlie Rangel: "If nothing's wrong, why wouldn't you ask for a House Ethics Commission to clear your name," Greene asked. Responded Meek: "If they felt anything was wrong I would have been before the ethics committee long ago."

Source: 2010 Florida Dem. Primary Debate, Miami Herald & P.B.Post Aug 10, 2010

On Government Reform: Drafted 70 bills in Congress; some got merged into law

Greene taunted Meek for drafting 70 bills in his eight years in Congress with none of them passing, concluding that Meek had a scant record as a congressman.

Meek offered a detailed parliamentary response about how bills merge in the committee process, saying many of his legislative ideas were incorporated into committee bills that didn't bear his name.

Source: 2010 Florida Dem. Primary Debate, Miami Herald & S.S.News Aug 10, 2010

On War & Peace: Get troops out of Iraq to pay for tax cuts

One way to pay for tax cuts would be moving toward more diplomatic solutions in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Getting our combat troops out of Iraq is going to save this country money," Meek said. "I support making sure that they are secured and that they are safe and that we have force protection, but at the same time, we have to look at the affordability of what we are doing."

The last US combat brigade was pulled out of Iraq this month. Nearly 50,000 non-combat soldiers remain in Iraq.

Source: CNN "State of the Union" on 2010 Florida Senate debate Jul 22, 2010

The above quotations are from 2010 Florida Senate debates.
Click here for other excerpts from 2010 Florida Senate debates.
Click here for other excerpts by Kendrick Meek.
Click here for a profile of Kendrick Meek.
Kendrick Meek on other issues:
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform
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Page last updated: Nov 01, 2010