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Listen to Congressional D-13 Candidates on Energy, Leadership and Negative Ads

The three candidates running for Pinellas County's District 13, Congressman Bill Young's former seat, debated for 90 minutes Tuesday morning to a sparse crowd of business leaders at Clearwater’s Capitol Theatre.

The candidates: Republican David Jolly, Democrat Alex Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby were asked their opinions on the negative ads by third-parties and how they would resolve the flood insurance crisis.

However, the final question asked by moderator –  University of South Florida political science professor Dr. Susan MacManus – may have been the toughest.

She asked each candidate to give a one-word answer on what they thought is the most needed leadership quality in members of congress and then elaborate.Their partial answers:

SINK: A proven ability to work together with Republicans and Democrats.

OVERBY: Listening.

JOLLY: Heart of service.


What do you see are the biggest differences that split the American public today and make it difficult to craft solutions to our problems? Is it race? Is it gender? Is it generations? Is it income? Is it partisanship? Or is it elected officials versus the public at large? What is it that you see are the biggest schisms you’ll have to deal with when you get to Congress?

JOLLY: The nation is not divided, the community is not divided. It’s Congress that is divided.

SINK: The biggest contributor to division is the way the districts have been drawn.

OVERBY: All people want the same thing - to move forward. The biggest gap is between citizens and the congress.

Listen to the full debate segment as each candidate describes what they believe is dividing America.


Have you been disappointed in any of the outside ads and do you feel like you’ve lost control over your own campaign?

LUCAS OVERBY: I really wish the outside groups would quit running ads at all. The voters we work with are sick to death of them.

DAVID JOLLY: What we are all sick and tired of is the vitriol and the rhetoric on both sides that creates so much noise the voters don’t know where we stand on the issues.

ALEX SINK: I believe the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United that permitted outside groups to spend enormous amounts of money to influence campaigns but the ruling doesn’t allow you to know who is behind the negative ads.

Listen to the full debate segment as the candidates share their thoughts on the deluge of negative ads by third party organizations.


Alternative energy and your opinions about oil and gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.

LUCAS OVERBY: Where it’s done and how it’s done is up to the state. I full supported not doing near-shore drilling here. There’s much better alternatives.

DAVID JOLLY: We need to achieve energy independence in the country, but the important part is that we do it in the most environmentally responsible way. I’ve supported the 230-mile ban in the eastern Gulf.

ALEX SINK: I’m opposed to oil drilling. Somebody asked the other day "what about oil drilling in Louisiana and Texas?" The people in Louisiana and Texas decided they wanted oil drilling and that’s the basis of their economy. The basis of our economy is these beaches.

Listen to the full debate segment as candidates define their positions on oil and gas drilling and fracking.


Propose your solution for the increased flood insurance premiums caused by Biggert-Waters Act.

ALEX SINK: First step is to pass the bipartisan fix agreement that passed in the senate and waiting action at the house. The companion bill has 233 sponsors already far more than enough to pass the legislation.

LUCAS OVERBY: I’m concerned that people with second homes might not have their premiums frozen while congress figures out a fix. I’m in full favor to do whatever we can to get Florida on its own feet and not relying on the federal program.

DAVID JOLLY: We need an immediate delay on Biggert-Waters Act and to go further to include commercial property and second homes. The long term solution is in the private insurance market.

Listen to the full debate segment as each candidate explains how they would resolve the increased flood insurance premiums caused by the Biggert Waters Act.

The special election is March 11, but absentee voting has already started.

Bobbie O’Brien has been a Reporter/Producer at WUSF since 1991. She reports on general news topics in Florida and the Tampa Bay region.
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