JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - In an hour-long debate hosted by WJCT on Monday morning, Florida's District 4 Senate candidates Republican Aaron Bean and Democrat Nancy Soderberg sat down to sound off face to face.
At times, they interrupted each other to draw a stark contrast. The topic of conversation centered around the candidate's campaign platforms, each arguing they can offer something different.
"I'm running as a common-sense moderate that's going to change the conversation among the career politicians in Tallahassee and grow this area, get jobs and education moving again," Soderberg said.
"Well, I would work to repeal Obamacare. We're not going to have more spending from the government, we're going to give people more choice, let them keep more of their own money and have more freedom," Bean said.
The concern for many people who called in questions revolved around the economy. Bean, a former state representative, promoted his record while serving in the Legislature.
"We spent more money overall for those eight years, education rose, spending for education rose, jobs came to Florida, came to Jacksonville and northeast Florida. We've got a great record to run on," Bean said.
Soderberg, a professor at the University of North Florida, challenged the status quo.
"Where are our incentive packages? Where has Tallahassee been in trying to grow that port, expanding it to the standards and make sure that we keep the 3,000 retired military personnel that come out of the service every year on the First Coast? Soderberg said. "I'll do just that in Tallahassee."
In their fifth appearance together, both candidates made it clear education is a top priority.
"My priorities are to get a jobs plan going as soon as possible and to try to make sure that we have educated students, our kids for the 21st century economy," Soderberg said. "That means technology, science, math, make sure that we're at the top of the states in this country."
"I want for everybody to have choice in their education system," Bean said. "One size doesn't fit all. Public school is great. I've got kids in the public school and that's great, but if it doesn't work for them, we want them to have other choices where they can go to a private school or be homeschooled or go to a charter school."
The candidates are set to meet again on Channel 4.
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