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Indiana Election 2011 | Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations

Senate Debate Contentious as Election Approaches

Candidates were on the attack with November 2nd only weeks away.

Congress in session

Photo: Congress

Two of the candidates come to this election with previous legislative experience in Washington.

Both Democrat Brad Ellsworth and Republican Dan Coats were on the offensive during last night’s Senate debate in Indianapolis… while Libertarian Rebecca Sink-Burris remained more focused on questions and responses.

8th District Congressman and former Vanderburgh County Sheriff Brad Ellsworth struck at his opponent with claims that former Senator Dan Coats had spent his time out of office working as a lobbyist.

“When he said he term limited himself, he actually negotiated his deal with the lobbying firm Verner, Lipfert the first time.” said Ellsworth.

According to Coats’s website, he did spend time working for Verner, Lipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand… a lobbying group which works with entities ranging from unions and multinational corporations to not-for-profits.  Ellsworth also claimed that Coats had no permanent residence in Indiana and had not voted in an election in Indiana in over 10-years.  Neither claim can be verified at this time.  However, Coats was not living in Indiana when he decided to pursue the candidacy.

Coats, for his part, claimed that Ellsworth had supported 90% of what he called the “Obama-Pelosi agenda”.  This statement cannot be accurately verified.  However, Ellsworth did vote in favor of both H.R 3590… the so called “healthcare reform bill” and H.R. 1 or the “stimulus plan”.  Coats also claimed that partisanship is needed in Congress… and accused the entire Democratic party of irresponsible spending.

“We’ve got to hold this party responsible for taking us in absolutely the wrong direction.” said Coats. “Plunging us into debt.”

Libertarian Sink-Burris was more focused on the questions.  In response to a number of inquiries into her stance on education, abortion, and tax policy… she claimed that state and local governments were better equipped to handle these topics than the federal government.

“Different states will have different rules and as our founders intended”, said Sink-Burris,” the states were to be incubators of ideas and trying things and if it didn’t work out they could be scrapped.”

She also called for the elimination of the Department of Education and proposed the creation of private investment portfolios as a replacement for Social Security.