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Labrador, Farris Debate For Spot In Congress

Greg Hahn/IPTV
Idaho Public Television

The two men running for Congress in Idaho’s 1st Congressional district debated last night in Boise.

Democrat Jimmy Farris is a 34-year-old former pro football player challenging freshman Republican Raul Labrador.

The two spent much of their hour-long debate on Idaho Public Television talking about tax reform and ways to solve the federal government’s budget problems.

Labrador suggested cutting a third of Pentagon staff as a means of saving money. Farris agreed with the notion, saying the military could still be effective with less funding. That was one of the very few points the two agreed on.

They disagreed on other ways to balance the budget, what to do about Social Security, abortion rights as well as other issues.

When asked why Idaho voters should elect such an inexperienced politician, Farris tried to make his recent entrance into politics a positive. The Lewiston native says he hasn’t made the bad decisions he thinks Labrador made in his first term.

"Because what I don’t have is experience blowing up the deficit,” Farris said.  “I don’t have experience cutting jobs like Congressman Labrador has.  I don’t have experience gutting education the way that Congressman Labrador has.”

Labrador took exception with Farris’ comments - particularly the part about cutting jobs.

“Since I went to Washington D.C., the unemployment rate in Idaho and nationally has actually dropped,” Labrador responded.  “So I don’t know where he’s getting this information that I have cut jobs.  We’ve actually increased jobs since this freshman class went to Washington DC.”

The two were less than cordial at times.  At one point, Farris became upset when he felt Labrador was lecturing him. Labrador responded by saying he could lecture the younger candidate “anytime”.

The full debate will be rebroadcast here on KBSX 91.5 Monday at 7:00 p.m.