Add Rosemont Mine and the 14th Amendment to a long list of disagreements between the candidates in Congressional District 8.
U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords said in a one-hour debate on "Arizona Illustrated" Friday that she doesn't support the proposed open-pit mine, saying she has too many concerns about the water it will require, especially as drought affects supplies on the Colorado River.
Libertarian Steve Stoltz agreed that he's a "no" right now, but Republican challenger Jesse Kelly said with the state's unemployment rate refusing to budge, Arizona needs the jobs.
"I believe in a copper mine, in a copper state that has 10 percent unemployment," Kelly said, saying the additional tax revenues will also help close the state's ongoing budget shortfalls. "We cannot continue with this radical anti-jobs agenda and then say we're for jobs."
Kelly said it's really not up to Congress to approve it, though, saying it's being handled through the U.S. Forest Service and, ultimately, could end up in the courts.
Giffords interjected to say it's not accurate to underplay Congress' role in the approval of the project. She took some credit for some of the delays the project has faced, and added she called for six more public meetings. "We're elected to represent the people," Giffords said. "We engage, we fight, we advocate, we work for our community."
Kelly retorted, "The American people want a job right now. They don't want more studies from Congress, or spending, or stimulus. They want a job."
Much of the debate - the last this election season in District 8 - revisited issues the candidates laid out in two earlier meetings this week and throughout the campaign. Kelly dinged Giffords for her votes for federal health-care reform, stimulus, and the bank bailout. "I want my sons to grow up in a country where the government has no right to tell them what kind of light bulbs to keep in their house and what kind of health care they're forced to buy," he said.
Giffords, meanwhile, said there were stark differences between her record and Kelly's call to make deep cuts in government spending and eventually privatize Social Security.
Candidates also were asked whether they supported the effort by some lawmakers in some states to strip "birthright citizenship," given legal decisions saying citizenship must be bestowed on children born in the United States regardless of the legal status of their parents. A direct change to the Constitution would require a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress and the approval of three-fourths of state legislatures.
Kelly suggested Congress could pass a statute clarifying the language to make sure citizenship is not bestowed on people here illegally. "It's become a huge burden on the Border Patrol," he said.
Stoltz said he didn't think a statutory change would be the appropriate process, but said he would be willing to look at changes.
Giffords, however, called the issue a "red herring," saying the difficulty involved in changing the Constitution makes the chances "almost nonexistent" that it would happen. She said the answer remains in fixing the underlying border problems, including enhanced border-security measures and a comprehensive package that addresses guest workers and the millions of people already here illegally.
"Instead of attacking people, attacking the Constitution, why don't we just fix the problem?"
On StarNet: Find comprehensive election coverage including candidate profiles and endorsements at azstarnet.com/election
Contact reporter Rhonda Bodfield at 573-4243 or firstname.lastname@example.org