The race to office, with a pit stop at the Delaware Debates
Delaware’s candidates for Congress, Republican Hans Reigle and Democrat Lisa Blunt Rochester, had a few more tense exchanges and disagreed with each other on a variety of topics during their debate on Wednesday night.
Rochester said that after her husband died over a year ago, she opened her eyes to the people in our state dealing with the loss of jobs, homes or loved ones who have died from gun violence.
“I realized I needed to step up instead of sit back,” she said.
Reigle began his journey to candidacy in 2015 and said he has been a leader his whole adult life. Previously, he was an army captain, airline captain and educator.
“I want to represent you in Washington,” he said.
As the debate proceeded, Rochester and Reigle went back and forth on the topic of national debt. Reigle said he wants to boost more jobs, fund the military and have an incentive for federal departments to save money.
Rochester disagreed with Reigle. She advocated that the country need to put time and effort to go through a budget and then work together with stakeholders to make that happen.
“For me, it’s harder to do than say,” Rochester said.
Reigle responded to Rochester and said he thinks we need to look at fraud in the government.
Rochester explained that there is fraud and abuse in any industry, but for government, part of the goal is to go through and actually work with agencies.
The candidates also disagreed on the topic of deploying U.S. troops to Syria. Rochester does not support this, while Reigle said he would listen to the generals if they say we need to put boots on the ground.
On the topic of rooting out homegrown terrorists, there was another tense exchange between the two.
“We have to secure our borders,” Reigle said. “We need to figure out who is in America and track expired Visas.”
Rochester viewed harsh rhetoric as a root cause of injustice.
“How we talk to people is contributing to the reason we are seeing what we are seeing,” Rochester said. “People feel disenfranchised right here in our own country.”
When asked what you will do to change “nothing getting done in congress,” Reigle said he would use his personality to reach across the aisle. Rochester said for her it will be about finding common ground and common sense solutions.
Although there was some disagreement, Rochester and Reigle agreed on the right to own a gun, the need to end gender discrimination and the existence of climate change.
The topic of the presidential debate got heated when Reigle said he is still voting for Trump. Rochester pointed out that a Trump presidency would continue to break our country apart.
“We need strong positive leadership, not people who will separate and divide us,” Rochester said.
In Reigle’s rebuttal, he said that both candidates have “blocked out the sun” when it came to the issues.
“Actions mean more to me and it’s unacceptable the things that took place under Clinton’s watch,” Reigle said.
Lydia Jones, a senior from Delaware State University, asked the candidates how they could make college more affordable other than lowering interest rates.
Reigle said he does not think college is not the “golden ticket” to prosperity. However, he does wish college were more affordable.
“We could possibly change the way loans are given and structured to reduce them for students,” Reigle said.
Rochester said she thinks we need to look at spreading programs that get people into the pipeline for schools. But, she disagrees with Reigle about kids not needing college.
“We should all aspire to go to college,” Rochester responded.
In their closing statements, Reigle and Rochester both said they believe the country is stronger when it is united, thus making it safer for all Americans.
“I believe in a strong America, a secure America,” Reigle said.
Elections will take place Nov. 8. Voter registration has already closed for the election.