Congressman Ted Yoho was first elected in 2012, and Yvonne Hayes Hinson is running to try to keep him from winning a fourth term representing Florida’s 3rd District.
The district covers Alachua, Bradford, Clay, Putnam, and Union counties, along with a portion of Marion County. Yoho, a Republican, is a veterinarian and Hayes Hinson, a Democrat, is a retired school teacher, principal, and former Gainesville city commissioner.
Above, you can hear each detail their experiences and perspectives that they would bring to the job. Below, here’s a summary of their positions on key issues that emerged from WUFT’s questions.
Q: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just this week said it may be time to look at possible cuts to Social Security and Medicare. What is your solution to maintaining those safety nets?
Hayes Hinson: Plans to fight to protect Social Security from privatization and to keep it solvent. Notes that she is a Medicare and Social Security recipient. “We paid into that program. This is not a benefit. It’s something we actually participated in.” Faults the recent Republican-pushed tax cuts as one of the reasons it’s not as solvent.
Yoho: Disagrees with Mitch McConnell. Does not intend to support any cuts to them. “These programs need to be shored up.” But does acknowledge that the actuarial tables show a 20 to 25 percent cut to each down the road. Prefers a solution that offers new people entering the workforce the option of a 401k-style plan for Social Security. Wants to put that solution before the voters before it becomes law.
Q: The poverty rate is near 20 percent across the district. What symptoms of that rate would you address and how?
Hayes Hinson: Advocates for more trade school opportunities that would boost income across communities. Says adults need more technological skills.
Yoho: Suggests government does not create jobs, but can create the environment for more job creation. Agrees with his opponent on the need for vocational education, particularly for veterans.
Q: For Yvonne Hayes Hinson, what policies or accomplishments of President Donald Trump during his first 18 months do you agree with?
Hayes Hinson: “I can’t think of one right now. Not even one right now.” Later said she would work with him to “persuade him to do right.” But also said she would vote to impeach him if given the chance.
Q: For Ted Yoho, what of President Trump’s first 18 months do you not like?
Yoho: “I don’t like the tweets. That’s for the people to decide. I don’t think that’s a good way to do foreign policy.” But stands behind him on his policies, such as tax cuts, Supreme Court justice selections, and foreign policy. Did not agree with his bombing of Syria’s air base.
Q: Where is healthcare moving in this country, particularly with regard to pre-existing conditions?
Hayes Hinson: Supports Medicare for all. Admits that the term “free healthcare” does not elucidate the requirement that someone pays taxes to support the system.
Yoho: Thinks Medicare for all would drive tax rates up by 50 percent. Still intends to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act and return the system to a private market to drive down the cost. Does support a requirement that people with pre-existing conditions receive coverage.
Q: What should Congress be doing on areas like greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, or tax credits to preserve the planet as it is?
Hayes Hinson: Wants to see more support of renewable energy sources. Opposes mining, fracking, and other sources that add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Wants to see Florida become a leader in solar energy.
Yoho: Visited the damage after Hurricane Michael. Says he’s not a climate change denier and notes how hot it has remained this fall in Florida. But wants everyone to look at and debate the actual cause of global warming. Does not want any U.S. or world policies to disadvantage the American economy versus those of other countries. Also wants to see the construction of more solar farms in this area, as well as the use of hydrogen.
Q: Do you think the midterm elections are safe from outside actors and has Congress done enough to ensure a safe vote?
Hayes Hinson: “Not at all. In fact the money that was appropriated for protecting our voting systems has not been spent. Nobody’s using it, implementing it, making sure it happens. I believe our votes here in Gainesville (are safe),” but she’s not confident about the security of the vote nationwide.
Yoho: He’s excited about his bill, the Cyber Deterrence and Response Act of 2018, which the U.S. Senate needs to pass. It would then determine what a cyber attack is and sets a response for those attacks including sanctions against international actors. “Nobody interferes with America on this.” But does admit that Russia interfered with the 2016 election.
Q: What will your immigration legacy be?
Hayes Hinson: Wants to collaborate with immigrants and immigration experts to find out the best solutions. Does not want to see a wall but rather a bridge “with sound, compassionate policies in place that would encourage people to either stay in their country or find a smooth way to come into another country.”
Yoho: Wants to see a guest worker program for the agriculture industry first. Implement a pre-screened pool. They would pay taxes for government services excluding Social Security benefits. “If we do this and it works for ag, it would work for every other industry.” Also said the wall that President Donald Trump is already in progress but needs to be finished from San Diego eastward.
Each candidate was offered an opportunity for a one-minute closing statement.
Hayes Hinson: “I just think America’s exhausted from the scandal, the greed, the corruption that we’ve encountered. The appointment of people with egregious behavior — and then they get fired or resign. Nikki Haley, one of the best U.N. ambassadors that I’ve seen on the (Republican) side just resigned, and we don’t know why. We’re just exhausted from that. What we need is an appointment of people with decency. We wall want to believe in the decency of our elected officials. We need to be more careful about who we elect. We need to vet them better. We need to collaborate better. I believe I am an expert in collaboration. I want to take collaboration to Congress to try to unite the people there instead of divide us, and make America a place where we can all be proud of America again.”
Yoho: “It’s an honor and a privilege to be your representative for District 3. I truly do believe it’s the best district in Florida. It’s because of the people here. I’ve been honored to be up there for three terms. I’m asking for your support for one more term. I believe in the greatness of this country. I’ve experienced that coming from a broken family, houses being repossessed as a kid, to becoming a person that’s lived the American dream through opportunity and hard work. We want to continue that. I stand with the president. Make America great. America’s always been great. We want to keep it great for the future generations for those kids that haven’t been born yet. We want to make sure we do that through a growing economy, focusing on America and putting America first. That doesn’t mean at the expense of everybody else. Zig Ziglar said you can get anything out of life you want if you help other people get what they want. I think that’s the spirit of America. We’re going through the hurricanes, the relief effort. What you see is the best coming out in people. That’s what America is. That’s what we want. Go to our website, TedYoho.com, and I’m asking for your vote.”