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News-Record - Miller and Webster Offer A Clear Choice in the 13th District

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News-Record - Miller and Webster Offer A Clear Choice in the 13th District

Voters in the 13th Congressional District will face a clear choice in the election between incumbent Brad Miller, a Democrat, and his Republican challenger, former state Sen. Hugh Webster.

The winner will represent a predominantly Democratic district that stretches from Raleigh to Greensboro.

Both want to get U.S. troops out of Iraq as soon as is feasible. But they differ on time frame. Miller has supported a resolution calling on President Bush to set a timetable for withdrawal. Webster opposes any firm date for withdrawal, saying that setting one would create "havoc" and endanger lives unnecessarily.

Webster says he'd have voted no - in fact, he says he would have voted "Hell, no!" - on the recently passed $700 billion bank bailout bill.

"When we're talking about $700 billion - I don't think most of these people know how much money that is," Webster said. "We don't know where it's coming from. We don't know where it's going."

Miller, although calling it a "bitter pill," voted for it.

To fix the sagging economy, Webster says the government must cut taxes and regulations. He also wants to scrap the current tax code and replace it with one he says would be simpler and more fair.

Miller says the government must ensure that trade agreements must do more to protect American jobs. He also says the nation must invest more in research into alternative energy sources. He says the rate of federal research in that area should increase from the current 2 percent of federal research money to 10 percent or more, with more of an effort to get innovations to market as quickly as possible.

"We need an effort comparable to the effort in the 1960s to put a man on the moon," Miller said.

Doing so, he said, would not only help the nation achieve energy independence but also create jobs.

And he wants to ensure that workers can have ongoing education throughout their careers to respond to changes in the job market.

Webster agrees with Miller that the country needs more research into alternative energy sources. But he also stresses that the country needs more drilling for crude oil, particularly offshore and in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, an area Congress has protected from drilling.

In health care, Webster says the biggest problems are excessive regulation and bureaucracy.

He also says reform in the legal system would let medical professionals worry less about being sued.

Miller says the country needs a "big fix," universal coverage. He also says that Medicare and Medicaid must pay more to doctors. Those agencies' payments have been essentially flat for years while doctors' expenses have increased, Miller says, so the agencies must pay doctors enough money that they are not squeezed financially.

The two also differ on earmarks, federal spending for pet projects of representatives and senators that often get little or no debate after being slipped into spending bills.

Webster calls earmarks "theft" and has signed a no-earmarks pledge.

Miller has worked to make it easier to know which members of Congress are responsible for earmarks. He says he has "obtained no earmarks I would not be proud to explain."

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