Goodlatte & Schmookler Square Off in 6th District Debate - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Goodlatte & Schmookler Square Off in 6th District Debate

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The candidates vying for the 6th District congressional seat may get tired of seeing each other.  Republican Bob Goodlatte and Democrat Andy Schmookler squared off Monday morning, for the second of three debates in a four-day stretch.

Schmookler, trying to unseat incumbent Rep. Goodlatte, publicly issued the debate challenge back in August.  The two campaigns finally settled on three forums, just one NBC29 viewing area.  It was a student-organized debate at Turner Ashby High School in Bridgewater.

A crowd of more than 500 listened as Goodlatte and Schmookler sparred over health care, the national debt, and the congressman's vote against the 2012 transportation bill.

"It's a perfect time to be putting our money to get our economy moving," Schmookler said.  "Put people back to work and their expenditures will put other people back to work, and that will get rid of a third of our deficit."

"A transportation bill that spends money over two years, and then figures out how to pay for it over 10 years - that's fiscally irresponsible," said Goodlatte.  "I've voted for many transportation bills, but not ones that are fiscally irresponsible."

Much of the audience was made up of Rockingham County High School students, who also came up with the questions for the two candidates.  Their responses were often a reminder of divisive national politics.

"Republicans in the Congress decided when President Obama was inaugurated, they were going to do everything they could to make him fail, to make him look bad… even though there was no way the president could fail without injuring the country itself," Schmookler said. 

Goodlatte said, "He had huge majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.  That's why people turned out in huge numbers, because while he should have been focused on job creation and growing our economy; in point of fact what he actually did was distract the county to try to pass Obamacare."

The final debate between Goodlatte and Schmookler takes place in Lynchburg on Tuesday night.

Goodlatte is running for his 11th term in the House of Representatives, and since being first elected, he hasn't been seriously challenged.  His most narrow victory was 24 points.

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