Monday, April 9, 2012

Pantano has repeatedly pressed Rouzer to admit he has been paid to lobby for a bill offering amnesty to illegals.

Last Modified: Friday, April 6, 2012 at 5:57 p.m.
Congressional candidate Ilario Pantano started running TV ads attacking David Rouzer's federal lobbying background back in November.
He renewed that line of attack this week. During a taped debate moderated by Jon Evans of WECT, Pantano repeatedly pressed Rouzer, his main opponent in the May primary for the GOP nomination in the 7th Congressional District, to admit that he received a paycheck to lobby for a 2007 agriculture bill that would have provided amnesty to many illegal immigrant farm workers.
Pantano, who has made illegal immigration one of his main issues in the primary campaign, said Rouzer's lobbying on behalf of that bill was a "betrayal" of conservatives.
"It's not a conservative position to be paid to do something that's antithetical to the conservative value," Pantano said.
Rouzer, after repeated questioning by Pantano, acknowledged during the segment that he received money for lobbying for the bill. Rouzer said that his career has focused on solutions and that the agriculture bill was a proposed solution to farmers' problems in finding enough labor to get their crops out of the field.
He said the federal government has failed to put in place common-sense solutions so employers can get the labor they need.
"You're either going to import food or you're going to import workers," Rouzer said. "We in this country, we need to decide what we're going to do."
Rouzer also said he wouldn't apologize for seeking a solution to a problem. He added that it's easy to demagogue the issue for political gain.
"I'm not in it for political gain," he said. "I'm in it to move this country forward."

Rouzer said a solution to the illegal immigration problem is to secure the border, put in place good guest worker programs that employers can use and then allow employees who are doing work that no American will do to continue to work. He added that many illegal immigrants are paying taxes. Rouzer repeatedly questioned whether Pantano had a solution.
Pantano said he supports a national border fence, as does Rouzer. Pantano also said he would support bringing troops home from around the world and stationing them on the Mexico border. He also supports requiring employers to show they aren't hiring illegal aliens.
Pantano, Rouzer and Randy Crow are vying for the GOP nomination in the 7th Congressional District. The winner will face U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-Lumberton, in November.
Patrick Gannon: (919) 854-6115
On Twitter: @StarNewsPat