The two candidates for US Senate in Pennsylvania who showed up for a recent debate in Pennsylvania were Green Mel Packer and Republican Peg Luksik. The latter was formerly a Constitution Party member and garnered over 10 percent of the vote as the party’s nominee for governor of Pennsylvania in 1994. From the Daily Times:
Luksik, of Johnstown, and Green Party candidate Mel Packer, of Pittsburgh, were the only candidates who attended. U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., and U.S. Rep. Joseph Sestak, D-7, of Edgmont, sent surrogates in their stead. Neither Republican candidate and former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey nor Independent candidate Mike Tilit were represented.
Surrogates for the Democrats touted their respective candidates’ support for bills that had increased funding for various education grants and programs — and promised to continue that trend — but mostly sniped at each other between responses.
The highlight of the forum was seeing the two lesser-known candidates locking ideological horns over issues like free enterprise, the environment and the role of government.
The only issue Luksik and Packer appeared to agree on was President George W. Bush’s flagship education bill, No Child Left Behind, which both denounced as a failure that forces educators to teach to a test at the expense of actual education and extracurricular programs.
When asked about gay rights and a potential repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the military policy of secrecy for gay service members, Packer said gay rights are civil rights, plain and simple.
“This is a smokescreen to hide other issues and rile people up on the extreme right,” he said. “The gay couple down the street who are raising their kids and paying their taxes and owning their home, whether or not they do all of that or do some of it, is not my enemy and it’s nothing I should even be concerned about.”
Luksik said there’s a difference between where and how people live and giving them a marriage license, linking gay marriage to incest.
“If a marriage license is a fundamental human right then anybody should be allowed to have a marriage license with anybody,” she said. “So I can have one with my sister, my brother, you can one with your parent, because if it’s a fundamental right for anybody to marry anybody, then it’s a fundamental right for anybody to marry anybody.”