Incumbent Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio and his Republican challenger Art Robinson traded barbs Wednesday night in a debate at the University of Oregon Law School in Eugene. They were joined by Green Party candidate Michael Bielstein discussing topics including funding for rural counties, liquefied natural gas terminals, oil trains, climate change and education.
This is the third try by Art Robinson to unseat Peter DeFazio who's been in Congress for 27-years.
Robinson claims there's a divide between the working class and the political class and he says "career politicians" have caused economic inequality.
Robinson: "We need to get rid of this cycle of career politicians and the corporate and Wall Street people and special interests that fund their campaigns and keep them in office. He's trying now for 15 terms. Are we kidding? It's time to make a change."
Congressman DeFazio spent a lot of time trying to expose Robinson's more controversial statements from the past.
DeFazio: "Well, I happen to believe in human-caused climate change and my opponent Mr. Robinson is one of the foremost deniers of that science. In fact, he has called the science a "bogus-fear scenario".
Robinson expressed doubt during the debate that climate change is human caused, saying that the earth goes through natural cycles of cooling and warming. Green Party Candidate Michael Bielstein had this to say about climate change.
Bielstein: "We are treating the resource of the atmosphere as if it's a big toilet. We can burn all the carbon dioxide we want and put it in the air and do that at no charge. I say we charge people for the carbon dioxide they put in the air."
Bielstein, a Corvallis City Councilor, called for free college tuition, an end to wars, single payer health care and a 15-dollar an hour minimum wage.
Art Robinson is a chemist from Cave Junction. At Wednesday's debate he called for education reform, term limits and less government regulations.
Congressman Peter DeFazio touted his record of independence and ability to get things done despite Congressional gridlock.
Wednesday's debate was sponsored by the City Club of Eugene and Lane County League of Women Voters. DeFazio and Robinson will have another debate in Coos Bay next week.
KLCC News Director Tripp Sommer moderated the debate.