U.S. House race heats up as candidates debate the issues | News

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U.S. House race heats up as candidates debate the issues

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- Two candidates vying for a seat in the U-S House of Representatives faced off in what can be described as a mild-mannered debate. Current Democratic incumbent Rep. Mike Michaud took on Republican hopeful Kevin Raye in a bid for the second district house seat.

Rep. Mike Michaud said, "It's our tenth year anniversary running against one another."

The two candidates battled it out when Governor Baldacci gave up his seat. Michaud won and has held the seat since, but Raye said it is time for someone new.

Republican Maine Senate President Kevin Raye said, "Washington is broken. I think that that is a political fact that all Mainers of any political stripes understand."

Raye took jabs at Washington and federal laws that he said hinder Maine's small businesses.

The Republican hopeful used his small business experience as a platform for why he says he should be elected and a reason why he knows what the state needs.

The two candidates took on topics such as natural resources, transportation, and raising taxes to balance the budget.

The hot button issue, however, was healthcare.

Michaud argued his vote in favor of President Obama's healthcare plan was in the best interest of Maine and Republican opposition to the bill is just politics.

"He listed issues he thought should be in the healthcare bill and every issue that he mentioned that should be in the healthcare bill is in the healthcare bill," said Michaud.

Both said, if elected, they will fight for continued healthcare reform.

"There are components of Obamacare that I support that I would look to repeal the law but then replace it with some of those components and then some additional things that we can do," said Raye.

"One of the issues that is extremely important in the healthcare area is to get Maine at the Boston-market rate for reimbursement under medicare. That will have a significant impact on hospitals alone that's 168 million dollars a year that's significant," added Michaud.

When it came to raising taxes to balance the budget, Raye said he cannot see himself raising taxes when we are trying to spur economic growth. While Michaud argued the only options for eliminating the deficit are cuts and revenues.

Both candidates agreed on one thing in order to make changes to benefit Maine there needs to be work across the aisle.