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Viewpoint: 1st Congressional District candidates discuss the pressing issues of the day

Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho) and Democrat Rudy Soto discuss their stances on the federal response to COVID-19, economic recovery, health care, public lands and more.

BOISE, Idaho — The anticipation is building as the long campaign season draws to an end and we get closer to having the answers to the big political questions; who will be our next President, our next U.S. Senator, representatives, and state and local officeholders?

This episode of Viewpoint focuses on the race to represent the people of Idaho's First Congressional District.

This race pits incumbent Republican Rep. Russ Fulcher against Democratic challenger Rudy Soto.

Congressman Fulcher of Meridian serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and Education and Labor Committee. Before this, he served as an Idaho state senator for ten years.

Rudy Soto grew up in Nampa, is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe, and the son of a Mexican immigrant. He served in the Army National Guard and worked as a congressional staffer in Washington, D.C.

Doug Petcash interviewed the candidates on a wide range of issues including the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, economic recovery, health care, public lands, and more.

Below are their answers to the question: What do you think the federal government needs to do about the coronavirus pandemic going forward?

Rudy Soto: Well, it needs to unite the country, stop allowing politics to interfere. That's been the biggest problem from the get-go. We need people to listen and trust science and facts and basically have a whole of government approach where we're seeking to unite our fellow citizens to do their part. We're faced with the possibility of having this be drawn out to four years when it could have been something that could have been more limited to one year. Now it's most certainly at least going to be a minimum of two years where we're in this state, and it's been because there's been a lack of a national plan and strategy, and if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Rep. Russ Fulcher: At least for me, it's been clear that we should not have tried to embark on a broad shutdown of everything. And so I don't think that's an appropriate role of the federal government, rather allow states to make those decisions, the locals to make those decisions, but we did, and that has happened. So that brings with it a responsibility moving forward. I do believe it's warranted to have some more Payroll Protection Program help, but that should be in the billions, not the trillions. A vaccine; there's a leadership role we need to be taking with that. We are taking that, and that needs to stay in place. And also, frankly, we've got pretty good intelligence now that this did come out of China. There needs to be some accountability there. And so those would be the appropriate things, I believe, moving forward for the federal government.

Both candidates believe a second stimulus package is needed, but they differ greatly on the size of the package.

Viewpoint airs every Sunday morning at 6:30 on KTVB and several times after that on 24/7 with the first airing at 9 a.m

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