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Hometown News - Republican Candidates for Congress Lay Out Election Platforms

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Hometown News - Republican Candidates for Congress Lay Out Election Platforms

By Samantha Joseph

ST. LUCIE COUNTY - Illegal immigration, fuel prices, terrorism and spending cuts featured prominently when Republican candidates presented their platforms to supporters in St. Lucie County.

Gayle Harrell, Tom Rooney and Hal Valeche all pledged to bring strong conservative values, if they win the job to represent District 16 in Congress.

The district spans the state's east and west coasts and covers eight counties, including Martin and St. Lucie counties.

"Like many of you, I am disappointed in the way many Republicans do business," Mr. Valeche told the audience at the St. Lucie County Republican Club.

The Palm Beach Gardens City Council representative said many in his party had strayed from the party's core values of conservatism and limited spending.

"It's time we act like conservatives, instead of just talking like conservatives," he states in his campaign literature.

The Yale University graduate and former Navy pilot promised financial support, training and equipment for troops, along with reduced property taxes.

Like the other Republican candidates, he signed the "No New Taxes Pledge," which promises not to raise taxes.

"We've forfeited the mantle of fiscal responsibility," he said. "We're in a funk here as Republicans."

Mrs. Harrell, an eight-year member of the Florida legislature, offered the creation of a strong energy policy.

She promised a "pro-production policy" that would use natural fuel reserves in this country, such as gas in South Dakota and nuclear energy, to help the U.S. become independent of foreign oil.

"We have not built a refinery in the last 30 years," she said.

Also topping her list of priorities is a plan to curb illegal immigration.

"We are at a critical point. I need your help to win this race," she told St. Lucie County Republican Club members.

Candidate Tom Rooney took a similar stance, promising to create a database of the names of illegal immigrants charged with felonies.

Once immigrants listed in the database complete their prison terms, they would face immediate deportation, Mr. Rooney said to applause from the audience.

"If you're here illegally and you commit a crime, shame on us for letting you stay longer," he said.

The former director of The Children's Place at Home Safe, a nonprofit for abused and neglected children, promised to "protect America's traditional values."

He pledged to support "traditional marriage between one man and one woman" and oppose abortion.

The bid for Congress is the first run for office for the former criminal prosecutor, who also taught law at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served in the Army.

The winner of the Republican primary in August will face democratic Congressman Tim Mahoney in the race to represent District 16.

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