U.S. Senate candidate Tom Smith attacked incumbent Sen. Bob Casey Jr. for his record on jobs and the federal budget when he spoke to a small group of college students and community members Tuesday morning.
Smith spoke to about a dozen people at a meet-and-greet event at the Holiday Inn Express State College at Williamsburg Square, 1925 Waddle Rd., as part of the Penn State College Republicans Truth Week.
Joyce Haas, vice chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, introduced Smith as a homemade man, a farmer who started working in the coal mines before he could own them. He’s also a family man, she said.
Smith played to that family man image when he talked about the issue of the national deficit. He said his just-born grandson’s share of the $16 trillion in national debt is $51,000, he said. The $16 trillion dollar deficit is “so huge” a number that it’s hard to comprehend, he said.
“We need to make some decisions,” Smith said. “We need to get on a path where we have smaller government.”
Smith said Casey has never come forward with a plan to fix America’s economy.
The solution to America’s debt problem is to stop deficit spending and examine every government department, Smith said. He said the key is also to grow the tax base.
The Casey campaign said in a written statement that Smith’s proposal for a flat tax would raise taxes on the middle class while giving the wealthiest people a tax break.
Casey’s campaign manager, Larry Smar , wrote that Casey has spent the last six years fighting for middle class families in Pennsylvania by fighting for jobs and opposing North American Free Trade Agreement -style trade agreements.
Casey also supported legislation to crackdown on China’s currency manipulation and legislation to prevent the doubling of federal student loan interest rates, according to a written statement from Smar.
Smith also called himself a “citizen candidate” in contrast to Casey, who he labeled a “career politician.” Smith said Casey has never come forward with a plan to fix the economy.
To create jobs, Washington needs leaders who recognize that the private sector creates jobs, he said.
Anthony Christina, chairman of the Pennsylvania Federation of College Republicans , said Casey’s record makes it clear that he’s been essentially “invisible” to Pennsylvanians for the past six years.
Smith offers common sense reform and knows the devastating effect regulations can have on small businesses, Christina (senior-history and political science) said.
“If we really want to get things done, I think Tom Smith provides that alternative of someone who’s had that experience in the private sector,” Christina said. “Senator Casey is just another career politician.”
But Greg Stewart, chairman of the Centre County Democratic Committee , said he values people who are committed to public service and are willing to sacrifice time with their families to do it. Casey doesn’t do it for personal gain, Stewart said.
“He’s in office for all the right reasons,” Stewart said. “Yes, he’s been a public servant for a long time, but he’s doing it because he’s concerned about Pennsylvania.”
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