HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Democratic and Libertarian candidates for the fourth congressional district debated Tuesday, and incumbent Rep. Steven Palazzo's absence was obvious.
"We need accurate representation," said Ric McCluskey, Libertarian candidate. "We need someone who will go up there and at least be accountable. Congressman Palazzo's not that."
Mark Gladney, the Democrat, agreed.
"You have got to go up and work and solve these problems," Gladney said. "They're not being solved, and I'll tell you one thing, as long as Steven Palazzo's up there, nothing's going to get solved. Not even his expense account."
Veterans and veteran services were a big focus for both candidates Wednesday night. Both are veterans who served overseas.
"We owe them," Gladney said. "We need to take care of them. One thing I will never do is I will never vote for a single bill that cuts any type of money for our veterans. Period."
Debate issues covered a wide range of topics including the economy, education and healthcare.
"The Affordable Care act is not perfect," Gladney said. "It's got many flaws in it. However, it should be the beginning of a conversation that we have about affordable healthcare in this country. Not an end all that we're just going to repeal it, and what do you have to offer? Absolutely nothing."
McCluskey disagreed arguing the government shouldn't be so involved .
"Democrats in general, they talk about the VA," McCluskey said. "(They say) that it's a great system. That is 100 percent government ran, 100 percent, and our veterans are hurting. Now, do we want to use the same type of healthcare for our citizens?"
While they disagree about how to solve certain problems, they agree they'd like to see new leadership.
"Let's get away from what's happening out there right now, and kick these bums out of office, put some folks in there that are going to represent the people," Gladney said.