Posted at: 10/31/2012 4:50 PM
Updated at: 10/31/2012 5:49 PM
In front of a packed house at the Mesabi Range college campus in Virginia, Rick Nolan and Chip Cravaack sounded off for their final debate.
Despite weeks of attack ads, it was an amicable event, with the men joking that they agree on a few things.
Mining was a big focus.
Congressman Cravaack said that there are too many regulations out there for both the traditional mining and new base and precious metals mining, and he believes more can be done to streamline the permitting process.
Nolan said that the mining companies he met with have no problem meeting the regulations. But he does have concern about the timeline of how long it takes.
Cravaack then took the time to point out Nolan has been financially supported by Conservation Minnesota, which Cravaack said has come out and said that they are against the new type of mining.
Nolan fired back and said he has the support of the steelworkers. He also asked Cravaack if he really wanted to get into who is financing who in this election, mentioning Las Vegas millionaires.
Nolan also said that there needs to be more diversity in the industry, like possibly making steel on the Range someday. That was a response to a question about how to help the traditional taconite industry.
Cravaack said he wants to make the Range the Bakken oil fields for taconite and precious metals mining.
The 148th Fighter Wing was brought up. Both men praised the airmen and the base.
Nolan said that he believes money should be spent on the airmen here, not the air conditioning of the Green Zone in Iraq.
Cravaack said that he has pushed for more consideration on a proposal that would cut the 24/7 alert mission from the base.
The two also spoke about Medicare, education, and the financial state of the government. Most of the answers sounded similar to what was said in earlier debates.
The last 30 minutes of the debate was for audience submitted questions. They ranged on topics including the Postal Service, Head Start, the war in Afghanistan, the debt ceiling, and the dysfunction in Washington.
We spoke with two men after the debate. One supported Nolan. He said, "I think it went well. I've been to debates, and this one was civilized," said Bill Marchand.
Charles White, a supporter of Cravaack, said, "I thought it was a good debate. I was happy to see it. There was no surprises."
There was a large police presence at the event. But the crowd, which was too big for the one auditorium to handle, behaved. There was an overflow area for people to watch the debate on TV.