three candidates for South Carolina District # 2 U.S. House seat
Republican (inc.) Joe Wilson - pro-Iraq War and pro-Bush
Constitution Party Steve Lefemine - opposed to Iraq War and Bush
Democrat Michael Ray Ellisor - opposed to Iraq War
War in Iraq splits three candidates for U.S. House seat
Published Wed, Oct 27, 2004
By OMAR FORD
Gazette staff writer
The three candidates for a South Carolina seat in the U.S. House of Representatives are drastically split in their views of the war in Iraq and the future occupation of the war-torn country.
Democratic nominee Michael Ray Ellisor, Constitution Party candidate Steve Lefemine and incumbent Republican Rep. Joe Wilson are vying for the congressional seat that stretches from Columbia to the coast, including Beaufort and Jasper counties.
Ellisor, a criminal defense attorney from Lexington, and Lefemine, a retired Army officer
[correction by Lefemine campaign: Steve Lefemine served five years active duty in the US Army, and remained in the US Army Reserves, mostly the IRR, for another 10-11 years, but is not retired Army]
from Cayce, both strongly oppose the war, while supporting the effort is Wilson, who has held the congressional seat since 2001 when he was elected to fill the unexpired term of Floyd Spence who died in office.
Ellisor is calling for a full withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.
"I saw no reason for us to go to war in Iraq," he said. "Iraq is going to be another Vietnam quagmire."
Ellisor said participating in this war without "justification" has led the United States to destroy valuable relationships with other countries.
Also critical of the war, Lefemine said the advisory resolution Congress approved to give the president authority to use military force in Iraq was "unconstitutional."
Wilson said he supports America's presence in Iraq and President Bush.
"I support (the president's) decision to fight the terrorists wherever they are," Wilson said. "He has shown great courage and leadership, and he has made the right decisions to protect American families."
The three also differ when it comes to the No Child Left Behind Act, which ensures federal funding to schools that meet adequate yearly progress standards. If school districts don't meet these standards that support could be threatened.
"Right now (No Child Left behind) is under-funded and sets impossible standards," Ellisor said. "We've got to spend more money on education. We've got to adequately fund it."
Wilson argues that the program has led to a rise in teacher quality in South Carolina because of its rigorous standards.
"We understand the importance of a quality education for each child," he said. "This is why I have supported (No Child Left Behind) which has brought high standards to our schools that require results."
Lefemine said he doesn't believe in most government programs like No Child Left Behind, Social Security and Medicaid since the Constitution doesn't call for them.
He said he'd like to dissolve all of the federal government's powers to oversee education and leave those responsibilities to the state.
The candidates do agree on preserving the state's military operations, which could be on the chopping block with next year's scheduled round of base closures.
Closure of Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Beaufort Naval Hospital and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort would mean a $454 million loss to Beaufort's economy every year.
Wilson said that he has been lobbying in Washington, D.C., to keep area bases open.
"It'll take a cooperative effort to keep these bases going, with the county, municipal leaders the chambers of commerce and retired military's support," he said.
Ellisor said since the 2001 terrorist attacks the need for the state's military bases have increased.
"After 9/11 it's now time in this country to have more ground troops and strongly support those bases," he said.
Contact Omar Ford at 986-5538 or firstname.lastname@example.org. __________________________________________________
No King but King Jesus !
Constitution Party candidate for US House Second District (SC)
Lefemine For Life for Congress
P.O. Box 50358 Columbia, SC 29250
Steve Lefemine for US2 Congress SteveLforUS2@sc-online.net