Immigration one of few areas of difference at GOP debate

There were few differences as the four GOP U.S Senate candidates squared off Wednesday night for an hour long debate before over 350 people at the Gering Civic Center.

The debate between Bart McLeay, Ben Sasse, Shane Osborn, and Sid Dinsdale was the first of the 2014 political season and covered agriculture, federal tax reform, national defense, health care and immigration, the latter issue one of the few where there were state differences.

While all the candidates said securing the borders was the first priority, McLeay,an Omaha trial attorney and Dinsdale, whose family owns Pinnacle Banks, discussed alternatives to a so called "Pathway to Citizenship" for productive illegal aliens. McLeay supported "legal residency" while Dinsdale talked about establishing "worker status". In each case the illegals would not have access to federal benefits or the right to vote, but they would work legally and pay taxes.

Sasse and Osborn were adamant they would oppose any type of "amnesty' program for illegal aliens.

All the candidates used the evening attacking President Obama's administration for his health care plan and over-regulated government. Sasse, Midlands University President, emphasized Obamacare is "unfixable and Washington is "broken."

Osborn talked about cutting the State Treasurer's budget during his years in office and his military service, including the well-publicized crash of his aircraft in international waters and the subsequent detention and interrogation by the Chinese military.

McLeay said his experience as a trial lawyer and litigator could help resolve the gridlock in Washington while Dinsdale said his emphasis was to eliminate the "overreach of federal government" in American's lives..

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