Republican David Young and Democrat Staci Appel debated for the second time last night at Simpson College in Indianola. The two are running for retiring Congressman Tom Latham’s seat in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District.
Appel was asked whether she supports taking passports from terrorists. In the candidates’ first debate Appel said she would not support legislation to seize passports from terrorists since the State Department already has that ability.
Young’s campaign has used this statement as an attack on Appel’s judgment on national security issues. Appel tried to clarify her earlier statement.
“Let me be absolutely clear. I do not support giving passports to terrorists. We have a State Department that takes care of these problems; has the ability to take passports away,” Appel said. “So making sure everybody knows tonight I do not support terrorists having passports.”
Young accused Appel of backpedaling. “In that first debate you said you would not be advocating taking the passports of terrorists,” Young said. “You can’t take these things back when you are a member of Congress. Your vote is your vote, you need to be decisive. You need to show leadership.”
The two were also asked how to extend Medicare, which is predicted to run out in 2030. Young said he may support asking wealthier Americans to pay more money into the program.
“We need to go after waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement,” Young said. “But I think we have to look at the means testing, at maybe, perhaps having the wealthy pay a little bit more.”
In response Appel accused Young of mischaracterizing his position.
“My opponent has had some extreme positions in the, in the primary…. privatizing social security, raising the retirement age, changing Medicare as we know it,” Appel said. “I think my opponent needs to answer to our Iowa seniors and how he’s changing his views.”
Neither candidate said they support raising the age of retirement. During the Republican primary Young said he would consider raising the age of retirement, but has since decided to take the issue, "off the table."
According to the University of Northern Iowa, by 2020 one in every five Iowans will be age 65 or older.
Young is Sen. Chuck Grassley’s former chief of staff. Appel represented Ackworth in the state Senate from 2007 to 2011.
Limited polling shows the race that covers much of southwest Iowa, including Council Bluffs and Des Moines, to be a tossup.