Democrat Jim Reed is an attorney and small business owner from Fall River Mills. His rival, Republican Doug LaMalfa is a 4th generation rice farmer, and a former Assemblyman and State Senator. Thursday night, they met for their third debate at Chico City Council Chambers. It was a packed house with standing room only. Each candidate was asked questions by local media and the audience, and their answers were timed. Topics ranged from how to improve the economy, water-rights, and the environment, to treatment of veterans coming back from the war zone.
Their answers mostly lined-up along party lines. Reed was on the offense, going after LaMalfa on his voting record, his stance on women's issues like abortion and Planned Parenthood. He even accused LaMalfa of taking advantage of government subsidies on his rice farm. In response, LaMalfa said Reed doesn't know enough about how his farm works to make those accusations.
When asked about how to best aid California's veterans, Reed said paying high salaries to government contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan was a mistake. He added that soldiers could have benefited from that work experience when they re-entered the work force. LaMalfa said California's inmates are treated better than vets in some cases, and that if the economy were better, they would have the opportunity to find work.
The two men disagreed on climate change. When asked if climate change existed, LaMalfa said he believed it does, and that it happens four times a year, and that it's currently changing right now. He said, "It's called fall."
The men will meet again next Tuesday for the Chico Rotary at the Elk's Lodge from noon to 1:00pm.