Lampson, Smither, and Sekula-Gibbs Meet

Personally, I don’t know why in the hell Smither would frame his point about cutting spending in the way that he does. The article says he drew his “fair share of jeers” when he posed the question of why citizens in Arizona should be forced to pay for several local projects in Texas.

It seems to me that it would have been 100% more effective to ask the question of why Texans have to pay for projects in New York and Massasschussetts. Instead of being booed, Smither might have drawn applause.

From the Galveston County Daily News...

For a first-time event, the Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce’s issues forum Tuesday achieved something no other area political meeting had this year. All three of the major candidates for the 22nd congressional district came to debate the issues.

The debate came just five days after Republicans announced plans to back Houston city councilwoman Shelley-Sekula Gibbs’ write-in candidacy against Democrat Nick Lampson and Libertarian Bob Smither in the race to replace Tom DeLay. It was the first time all three had participated in a debate for a race that may be one of the most watched in the country.

The forum also featured District 14 Democrat candidate Shane Sklar, who is challenging Republican incumbent Ron Paul for the seat that represents the bulk of Galveston County. Paul, who had held a fundraiser at the same venue two days prior, was absent and sent his chief of staff, Tom Lizardo, in his sted.

Immigration policy, homeland security and the role of the federal government in hurricane evacuations and recovery took center stage at the forum. But the back-and-forth wasn’t all high-minded statesmanship.

It was on the first topic, immigration, that Sekula-Gibbs went on the attack, chastising Lampson — a former congressman — on his voting record related to immigration issues.

“The National Guard is critical. They are down there, they are helping, they are making a difference and they should have been down there years ago,” said Sekula-Gibbs, who never mentioned Lampson by named but directed the audience to his spot at the end of the table. “And one of the people at this table voted five times to deny the National Guard (the) right to go down and defend our borders.”

Lampson, who had already had his turn to push for tougher border security and heftier penalties against employers who hire illegal immigrants, shook his head. It was when the microphone came back to his seat that Lampson responded to Sekula-Gibbs’ knock on his record.

“I think the people of this country are fed up with DeLay-style political tactics,” Lampson said to a round of applause from a mostly Democrat-leaning audience. “We truly ought to be sitting down and discussing in a civil, respectful manner the issues that are affecting our great country.”

It was a theme Lampson stuck with most the night.

Even Smither, whose Libertarian candidacy gained some gravitas in recent weeks as the only other candidate to be listed on the ballot with Lampson and some recent endorsements from prominent Republicans, got into the Lampson criticizing.

Smither also touted his Constitution-first political philosophy and drew his fair share of jeers when he voiced his opposition to a number of federally funded local programs, instead wanting to see investment in those projects come from local sources.

“Why should a family in Arizona be taxed for the dredging of a (channel) in Texas City?” Smither queried. “Wouldn’t we be better served if we paid for it ourselves?”

Smither did seem to catch the audience’s attention when he announced he had a plan to cut federal spending by 75 percent. He did not outline his exact policies during the forum, however.

But in what may prove to a rare occurrence this campaign season, the three candidates eased off the political attacks and focused most of the night on issues and responses to questions posed from moderator Larry Edrozo.

While the 22nd congressional district candidates kept the attacks low-key, Sklar introduced himself to this part of 14th Congressional District with shots at Paul. Buoyed by a hefty number of supporters in the crowd, Sklar hammered away at Paul’s voting record, noting the Brazoria county Republican’s tendency to vote against of federal spending bills, including hurricane relief funds and funding for the dredging of the Texas City ship channel.

Lizardo did his best to defend his boss, noting that Paul’s voting record is founded on long-held — and mostly Libertarian-based — principles of limited government and refraining from spending federal funds on items not clearly outlined in the Constitution.

Lizardo attempted to emphasize that while Paul may have voted against of a number of spending measures of local interest, his office works with other members of Congress, federal agencies and the state’s U.S. senators to see that money finds its way into appropriation measures funding local projects. He said that the congressman’s work on issues was not limited on legislation votes.

He compared criticism of Paul’s voting record to that as someone giving up on a football game at halftime.

Sklar snapped back that many might likely prefer to see a congressman in for the entire game.

Forum organizers were not only pleased with the mini-coup of securing almost all of the candidates for the county’s two congressional seats, but also with the turnout.

Bill Mathis, a member of committee that sponsored the forum and who also heads the Port of Texas City, said the group had expected roughly 50 people to attend. Instead, an estimated crowd of more than 120 showed up.

6 Responses to “Lampson, Smither, and Sekula-Gibbs Meet”

  1. NewFederalist Says:

    Hmm… perhaps he isn’t the brightest bulb in the package.

  2. A Second Hand Conjecture » Bob Smither Debate Says:

    [...] Libertarian candidate Bob Smither, vying for the U.S. Representative seat recently vacated by Tom DeLay, debated his two major opponents a couple of days ago (h/t Austin Cassidy): TEXAS CITY — For a first-time event, the Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce’s issues forum Tuesday achieved something no other area political meeting had this year. All three of the major candidates for the 22nd congressional district came to debate the issues. [...]

  3. Kyle B Says:

    Looks like the race is on between Sekula Gibbs and Smither to see who will finish second to Lampson

  4. Otto Kerner Says:

    Well, I guess that’s sort of better than the usual LP predicament of racing to see who will finish fourth or whatever

  5. undercover_anarchist Says:

    Smither’s campaign was a joke from day one, and libertarians engaged in some serious intellectual masturbation to consider it anything else. Dude raised about as much money as the average Badnarik staffer embezzles in a good week. Just a little over $2000 raised and you think he has a chance to end up in Congress? Take off the tinfoil hat for god’s sake… George Phillies has more of a chance of becoming president of France than this loser Smither ever had of finishing anything but dead last.

  6. Laren Livingston Says:

    I would vote for Smithers