Senate Candidates Boxer, Jones Address Stem Cell Research in Debate
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and rival former California Secretary of State Bill Jones (R) on Tuesday in their first and only scheduled debate discussed their "pronounced disagreements" on stem cell research and other issues in an hour-long televised event sponsored by the League of Women Voters, the Sacramento Bee reports. Boxer said she supports Proposition 71, an initiative that would fund stem cell research (Bluth/Mecoy, Sacramento Bee, 8/11).
Proposition 71 will appear on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot and would raise an average of $295 million annually for 10 years to promote stem cell research through the issuance of state bonds. The measure would provide funds for a new stem cell research center at a University of California campus, as well as grants and loans for laboratory projects at other colleges. State analysts say the measure would cost a total of $6 billion, including interest. Initiative supporters hope to raise $20 million for the campaign (California Healthline, 8/5).
During the debate, Jones "declined to say" whether he would support embryonic stem cell research, the Los Angeles Times reports. However, in an interview after the debate he said he would oppose Proposition 71 (Pasco/Morin, Los Angeles Times, 8/11). During the debate, Jones said, "I support stem cell research." After the debate, Jones said he opposes the bond measure for financial reasons, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Marelius/LaVelle, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/11). Jones said that the initiative would add billions of dollars to the borrowing included in the current state budget. He said, "I've been cautious about adding new debt" (Sacramento Bee, 8/11). Jones "went on the defensive" early in the debate, "attempting to frame away from divisive social topics in which Boxer has labeled him too conservative for California voters," such as abortion, the Contra Costa Times reports (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 8/11).
Boxer said the Bush administration's restrictions on the use of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research could impede medical breakthroughs for Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. She also said she disapproved of the California Republican Party's decision last weekend to oppose Proposition 71. Boxer said, "Stem cell research is a crucial issue of our time."
Before the debate, Boxer led Jones by 17 points in a recent Field Poll. Boxer also has raised about $6 million more in campaign contributions than Jones (San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/11). The debate took place before an audience of 300 at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles (Wildermuth/Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.