What About Bob? Goodlatte’s Rivals Debate
Kwiatkowski And Schmookler Challenge 6th District Incumbent
Posted: June 5, 2012
By PRESTON KNIGHT
HARRISONBURG — Ahead of the Republican primary next week, Karen Kwiatkowski finally had the debate Monday night she has demanded throughout her campaign for Congress.
Unfortunately for her, Democrat Andy Schmookler, not 6th District Rep. Bob Goodlatte, was presenting the opposing viewpoint.
About 150 people attended a debate hosted by Occupy Harrisonburg and Harrisonburg/Rockingham County Liberty Alliance at Community Mennonite Church. Kwiatkowski is one week away from the June 12 primary that will determine whether she or Goodlatte, a 10-time incumbent, faces Schmookler in November’s general election.
For months, Kwiatkowski has pressed Goodlatte, R-Roanoke, for a debate in hopes of getting answers to what she calls his “bad record” of supporting “big government” and being a “career politician.” He has declined each invitation or not responded at all.
“I attack Bob ceaselessly. That is what I do. That is easy to do,” said Kwiatkowski, a retired Air Force officer who farms near Mount Jackson. “In fact, I consider Bob one of my best campaign workers.”
In an interview Monday, Goodlatte said he has not attended debates or public forums because he has found that he can best reach voters directly through other means, such as phone calls and door-to-door campaigns.
Goodlatte is a “rubber stamp” for all of the problems facing America, including the nation’s debt, said Schmookler, an author from Shenandoah County. He said Congress has a “divide and conquer” strategy against the public and continues to take power and wealth away from the average citizen.
“I’m very upset about the state of our country,” Schmookler said. “I console myself at night reading books about great leaders.”
Kwiatkowski and Schmookler offered their views on five topics, including education and foreign policy, before answering questions from the audience. Both expressed hopes of restoring power to Americans while admitting their respective parties’ weaknesses.
“My goodness they’re the same, people,” Kwiatkowski said. “I’ll take self-government. … It is an illusion to think the Republicans and Democrats are removed from each other. They’re twins.”
Schmookler said problems should be viewed not as liberal versus conservative, but honest or dishonest and constructive or destructive.
“Every society has people with insatiable lust for power and greed,” he said. “We will not prosper unless we restore a government that is our instrument.”
Kwiatkowski will be in another forum at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Cornerstone Christian School in Harrisonburg. GOP Senate candidate Jamie Radtke, a tea party activist, also will participate.
Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or email@example.com