The public had one final opportunity before Tuesday's elections to hear state Rep. Helen Miller, D-Fort Dodge, and her opponent Matt Alcazar, a Republican from Fort Dodge, debate issues faced by the Legislature at a forum hosted by the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance at Iowa Central Community College Thursday evening.
Miller, who is seeking her sixth term, and Alcazar are both running for state representative in the redrawn Iowa House District 9.
The public submitted issue questions, on topics including state funding, taxes, gun control and voter identification.
When asked about gun control, Miller said she had not had many constituents come to her on the issue for any particular reasons.
"Right now, the way the law is written, the Iowa Constitution, the United States Constitution and the Second Amendment allow us the right to bear arms," said Miller. "But there are conditions under which we can possess firearms. It is something we need to see all interests on before we can move forward with it."
Alcazar said he is a supporter of the Second Amendment.
"I am a Second Amendment advocate," he said. "Right now, we don't have any protection over civil lawsuits if we protect ourselves in our homes. I stand up to protecting my family, and if anything stands in my way that will be an issue to me."
Miller said the Legislature needs to look at how voter identification would be handled in Iowa.
"I think we need to step back and look at how that would happen so citizens are not penalized for exercising their right to vote," said Miller. "It's not a huge, huge problem; it's the federal government that takes care of those issues and it has been left to the states to move those issues along."
Alcazar said he believes it is important for voters to have identification.
"It is very important because it's a constitutional right to vote," he said. "Everyone should have the right that has the legal right to vote. They should have to show an ID. We have to show ID to write a check, so why should voting be any different than writing a check? Everyone should have a right to vote and do it with an ID as well."
Both Miller and Alcazar agreed it would be permissible to have campus security officers at colleges carry guns as long as they have proper training.
"If the training is the same as for a police officer, I don't have a problem with it," said Alcazar.
"If you have individuals with the proper training and it will protect the students on campus then it should be OK," said Miller.
The gas tax was also a topic of concern, which both said is an issue because no one wants to see taxes increase.
"People are not willing or interested in paying additional tax," said Miller. "This is something we will have to sit down and get really serious about."
"Bluntly put, no, I would not support a gas tax increase," Alcazar said. "Anytime the government takes money from your pocket it is an infringement on your happiness. I would protect your pocketbook."
Miller said it is important to be accessible to your constituents to serve them well.
"Accessibility is very important," said Miller. "Accessibility by phone, email is all very important. You get used to being approached. That's definitely an important part of the job."
"It is important," said Alcazar. "Call, email, see who responds. It is important to respond to constituents no matter who they may be or where we are."