Voter Guide Highlights Disagreement Between Congressional Candidates on Cancer-Related Issues
The American Cancer Society's voter guide for the 20th congressional District race "highlighted an ongoing feud over cancer-related issues" between Sen. Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield) and Democratic opponent Jim Costa, a former state senator, the Bakersfield Californian reports. The ACS voter guide lists candidates' answers to six questions on cancer research and funding.
According to the Californian, Costa answered all six questions in line with the views of ACS. Ashburn agreed on two issues, opposed an increase on the federal tobacco tax to fund more cancer research and declined to answer "yes" or "no" on three questions.
Ashburn said that although he supports cancer research, higher taxes would create a black market where "kids and others" could purchase cigarettes at lower costs.
Costa criticized Ashburn for voting against a "check-off" on state income tax forms that would allow residents to contribute to breast cancer research funding. Ashburn said that he does not support including check-off boxes on state income tax forms because they are not consistent with the forms' purposes.
Deborah Leary, ACS volunteer, said the questions are asked so elected officials can be held accountable while in office. "It's not just a health care issue. It's a political issue," she said (Bakersfield Californian, 10/21).