U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, Georgia Labor Commissioner Mike Thurmond and airline pilot Chuck Donovan participated in a debate Sunday sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club. All three are running for Isakson's U.S. Senate seat.
The debate, the first and only scheduled debate where all three candidates will appear, largely focused on health care and government spending but did address the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy after panelist Meredith Anderson, from Augusta news WRWD-TV, read a question submitted from one of her viewers regarding the policy.
Georgia Senate candidates sound off on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
“I’m a United States Marine with three tours under my belt. I have two Purple Hearts, and I am only 27 years old. I’m also gay and lost my lover, who was in the Army, in Iraq. What do you think about ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’?”
Chuck Donovan (Libertarian): “’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is something that could have been taken care of with a simple order from the Commander-in-Chief. Instead it was passed around like a political football during an election year. I think Barry Goldwater said it best when he said ‘we don’t have to worry about whether or not our soldiers are straight, as long as they can shoot straight.’”
Isakson (Republican): “I think we should trust our military and our commanders to make the decisions in terms of the military. President Obama, when this question came up, said he was going to commission all of his heads of staff to make their recommendations and before they even made their recommendation there started to be a politization of the decision. I think it should be left to the commanders in the field and they should make the determination.”
Thurmond (Democrat): “First, I want to categorically state that I oppose any type of discrimination – particularly discrimination based on sexual orientation. We need to recognize that they are true, brave, loyal Americans who are gay and who make great contributions to this nation. But I also, at the end of the day, believe that we should leave this decision to our military commanders. They know best how to lead and how to prepare our military, and I will support their decision on this important and critical issue.”
To watch the debate in its entirety, check out the video below. Hit the 25 minute mark for comments on DADT.