Candidates spar during debate, health care forum

Omaha, NE – Nebraska's U.S. Senate and Second Congressional District candidates squared off in separate events Tuesday at Creighton University.

Senate Candidates Mike Johanns and Scott Kleeb participated in a health care forum. Both candidates support the further development of community-based clinics to serve the needs of rural Nebraskans. Kleeb says the government could learn from the values of community-based providers.

Johanns highlighted his record on health care during his terms as Mayor of Lincoln and Nebraska Governor. He says more money should be put in to mental health services. Johanns also sees two challenges to providing care to people in rural areas. One is a lack of professional emergency services in some places. He says public health facilities should also provide critical care for rural patients.

Congressman Lee Terry and opponent Jim Esch were also at Creighton for their second debate. Among the topics discussed by both candidates were national security, energy independence, the economy, and crime in Omaha.

Both candidates believe ethanol plays an important role in energy policy. Terry says more investment is needed in cellulosic ethanol, which can be made from wood pulp and switchgrass. Esch says ethanol should be a part of a long-term energy strategy that also supports clean, sustainable sources.