#iavotes14: Pat Murphy, Rod Blum spar in KWWL debate Saturday - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

#iavotes14: Pat Murphy, Rod Blum spar in KWWL debate Saturday

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - Both candidates for Iowa's 1st Congressional District sparred in a Saturday evening debate at KWWL's studios.

State Rep. Pat Murphy, a Democrat, began his opening statement talking about minimum wage and the middle class, issues KWWL political analyst Chris Larimer predicted he'd begin with.

Rod Blum, a Dubuque businessman and the Republican candidate, talked about the American Dream and the entrepreneurial spirit.

"(The) contrast tonight seems to be about minimum wage versus equality of economic opportunity," Larimer remarked.

Moderators Ron Steele and Amanda Goodman, both KWWL anchors, put several questions to the candidates along with Dubuque Telegraph-Herald and Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reporters in the studio.

Murphy said his main issues were education and the economy, and said Blum wanted to get rid of the Department of Education and Pell Grants. Blum retorted that he did not, but that he was not an advocate of more spending.

A few questions dealt with the government's response, or lack of response, to Ebola.

Murphy noted he'd support containment procedures and said he wished the government had more funds to deal with it -- funding he said was taken away by a Republican majority.

Blum called the Affordable Care Act "a horrible piece of legislation," but noted he'd have to try to work with it. He also said Iowa was penalized, even though they had better patient outcomes by spending less money.

Murphy said the ACA had flaws, but that those flaws could be improved upon and states who hadn't yet opted in should get incentives to do so. Prescription drug costs had a "donut hole" that the ACA fixed, he said.

When it came to immigration and amnesty, Murphy said he supported a Senate proposal that would require undocumented workers to "get in line," and that new immigrants should also perform some sort of community or military service as part of the deal.

Blum said the government has still not secured its borders, and that was priority No. 1 for him.


He also noted he'd work across the aisle, even as a freshman congressman.

"If someone across the aisle has good ideas, even Nancy Pelosi, I'll work with them," Blum said.


Both candidates agreed that Obama's proposal to get rid of the renewable fuel standard was ill-advised.

Ron Steele asked Murphy about Blum's attack ad where Murphy screams, "They shut down that switchboard!"

"The Republicans closed down the switchboard; they shut down the ability for people to call and complain," Murphy said. "For some reason, that's been distorted. We did work out an agreement with Republicans."

Blum said the commercial speaks for itself. He also criticized Murphy as a "career politician" throughout the debate.

"I'm not a politician, and I won't be a career politician," he said. "If we keep sending career politicians to D.C. and expecting different results, that's insane."

Murphy said he was "proud" of the 25 years he's spent in the Iowa legislature.

"I've spent 25 years fighting for middle-class families," he said.

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