LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — In their first head-to-head meeting since their primary victories last month, U.S. Senate hopefuls Ben Sasse and David Domina shared with a youthful audience their different views of the issues confronting them as they appeal to Nebraska voters.
On Monday night in Lincoln they answered questions submitted by some of the 800 high school students from across the state attending the annual Boys State and Girls State events sponsored by the American Legion.
"We have sharp differences, Mr. Sasse and I," Domina, a Democrat, said at the beginning of the forum. He and Sasse then demonstrated that as they gave their diverging views on energy policy, health care, gay marriage and other campaign points. Sasse is a Republican.
Domina said he'd like to repeal "every federal subsidy for fossil fuel" and spend the money instead on developing renewable energy. He said restrictions on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, similar to those proposed by the Obama administration, are necessary because carbon's "impact on the environment is real."
But Sasse said the carbon emission restrictions contained in a proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule would be "very destabilizing for Nebraska and its economic future," because the state relied heavily on coal-fired power plants.
He supports "an all-of-the-above energy strategy" that would develop all energy sources, Sasse said.
On health care reform, Sasse repeated his opposition to the Affordable Care Act but also said "conservatives need to get constructive (and) identify what we're for, not just what we're against."
Domina said the act was "a compromise, a start, something that had to be worked on," and the next steps should be to improve and save it.
Regarding gay marriage, Sasse said the government should ensure that children are raised with a parent of each gender. But Domina said government should say out of private matters including marriage and address them only as they involve tax policy.