BAXTER SPRINGS Sparks flew Thursday night as several candidates for local and state office squared off at the Baxter Springs Community Center for a candidate forum sponsored by the Cherokee County News-Advocate and the Baxter Springs Chamber of Commerce.

The main action of the night was between Republican candidate for the State House of Representatives Mike Houser and his opponent Democrat Grant Randall.

Taxation was a bone of contention between the two as Houser suggested the best way to increase state revenues was to lower taxes and broaden the tax base.

"That is the single most important thing we have to worry about is growing our tax base," Houser said "If we don't have that we don't have the revenue for anything else.

"We're going to have to be a little bit more competitive in our tax system."

Randall disagreed saying that lowering taxes has never resulted in increased revenues.

"Bludgeoning it with a simple 'let's lower taxes, doesn't work and it's never worked before," he said.

For complete coverage of Thursday night's event see next week's Cherokee County News-Advocate.

(Editor's Note: A line which may have appeared to convey a bias against Randall has been removed from this article.)