Debate goes on with just one candidate

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Stan McClain speaks to Tea Party solutions

By Jim Clark

It was supposed to be a District 3 County Commission candidate debate, but since one of two hopefuls didn’t attend, Stan McClain had to answer all the questions himself.
The Tea Party Solutions meeting Monday night featured McClain, the Republican incumbent who is being opposed by Democrat Patricia Reed, who was invited but did not attend.
In his opening remarks, McClain commented, “The oppression from the top is unbelievable. It was become painful to see how many rules and regulations are pushed down to us.”
McClain noted that government at the local level “is very important, and we have to continue to say no.”
With the county’s large population, McClain noted, “I probably face more voters (than state representatives).”
He drew a reaction from the crowd when he said he and his wife had 11 children and four grandchildren.
He praised earlier commissions for their fiscal responsibility, and said, “We’re reaping some of the benefits now.” As a result, he said, he didn’t have a “sky is falling” mentality.
He said he stands on his record, a conservative record, and added, “We’ve taken a view that our government needs to be smaller.” He said that he continues to look for ways for the private sector to take over some responsibilities.
Asked about impact fees and the county’s moratorium, he said that “eliminating them was fine with me.” McClain said he didn’t know if the decision has spurred growth, and as for the loss of funds, noted “the government didn’t take money out of someone’s pocket.”
Asked about the springs protection ordinance, he noted, “The more I looked at it, the more I realized it was not the right thing to do for Marion County. I do see the encroachment of government.
He was questioned about the proposed tech development at Interstate 75 and County Road 318 north of Ocala, and defended the property owner, saying that he was a strong proponent for property rights and that someone had made an investment in the property.
He said he could support the development if it could pay for itself.
Speaking about the Munroe Regional Medical Center trustees, he indicated he felt the hospital needed to either be sold or leased, and said there were seven proposals on the table.
As far as a hospital tax, he said that the people “elected me to represent you, so you won’t be bombarded” by proposals to vote on.
But he said there was another side. “Sometimes I get a little ticked off. Just send it to a referendum and let the people vote it down, then we’re done with it.
“We don’t need more taxes in Marion County.”
About grants and “handouts,” he said, “There is no free money.” He pointed out that if the money is coming from the state, or federal government, or water management district, then the taxpayers gave it to them.
“They’ll just be giving you your money back.”
McClain vigorously defended the Second Amendment to the Constitution. “I’m afraid the citizens are in trouble. In the revolution we were an ocean away from the tyrant,” and he added that it was not that way in America. “A lot of people don’t understand why it’s so important.”
McClain said it was important to have a congressman from Marion County for the majority of local citizens. He pointed out that a legislator out of Hernando County would “more than likely” be our sitting congressman. “If we had a strong congressman from Marion County, the difference that it would make for you is tremendous.
“We have to have a voice in Washington. We have to have people who will go fight for us.”
The next debate is scheduled for March 19 at 7 p.m. at the Tea Party Solutions meeting at Berean Baptist Church. It will feature candidates for District 5, the seat being vacated by Charlie Stone.

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