SEASIDE — State House candidates Debbie Boothe-Schmidt and Suzanne Weber discussed issues such as cap and trade, a Second Amendment sanctuary and negative advertising at an election forum in Seaside on Thursday night.
After sidestepping the topic during a forum in Astoria on Tuesday, the candidates were asked directly about cap and trade, an issue that has caused division in Salem and on the North Coast and prompted two Republican walkouts.
Boothe-Schmidt expressed support for protecting living-wage jobs and the state’s natural resources, adding, “We also have to work together to take care of our climate, or those natural resources will be gone for our grandchildren, and those living-wage jobs that depend on them will disappear.”
If the bill resurfaces at the Legislature, the Democrat said, “I will be reaching out to all of our stakeholders, sitting down with them and working to come up with a compromise — something that works for everyone.”
Referencing her experience bargaining contracts as a public-sector union leader, Boothe-Schmidt said she believes people with different perspectives can reach a compromise, “as long as no one gets up and walks out, like the Republicans did.”
Weber, a Republican who has opposed cap and trade, described the policy as a “massive bill” that was repeatedly amended: “It was hard to understand, it was going to be hard to deliver to the people.”
To Weber, climate change is a worldwide issue that “needs to be addressed on a world scale.”
“What we can do in this area, where we are sequestering so much carbon anyway in all of the trees we grow in the area, would only be a pin drop in relationship to the harm it could possibly do to the small businesses,” she said. “It was something that was too aggressive and it was at the wrong time.”
Reflecting on whether she would have walked out with fellow Republicans, Weber said, “There comes a time when you have extreme circumstances, and extreme circumstances call for extreme measures.
“I can’t tell you for sure that I would have walked out, but I support the ability to be able to do that,” she added.
Weber also clarified her position on the Second Amendment sanctuary, a ballot measure in Clatsop County in November that would prohibit county resources from being used to enforce local, state and federal gun laws. She did not take a position on the measure when asked during the Tuesday forum in Astoria.
Boothe-Schmidt opposes the measure.
“It’s very convoluted,” Weber said after learning more about the policy. “I am for the Second Amendment and the rights that are given to us in the Second Amendment concerning guns and owning guns, but this issue that’s coming before the voters is unrealistic.”
The candidates also had an opportunity to address campaign advertisements being sent to voters. Boothe-Schmidt refuted a letter from Tillamook County Sheriff Jim Horton sent by the Weber campaign, stating: “I do not and never have said I wanted to defund the police.”
“Please, do your research this election,” she implored voters.
Weber claimed she found it equally offensive that she was being accused of wanting to defund education and “to fire people who are gay.” She expressed concern for the residual effects of negative ads.
“It would be a wonderful gift if this did not have to happen,” she said.
The election forum, held at City Hall, was sponsored by the Seaside chapter of the American Association of University Women and the Seaside Signal. The moderator was R.J. Marx, the editor of the Signal and the South County reporter for The Astorian.