It was a double header of a debate that attracted a large crowd turned out at the University of Delaware for separate debates between the major party candidates for the U.S. House and Senate Tuesday.
Candidates discussed everything from the nation’s debt crisis to health care and education but the highlight of the evening was the lively senate debate between Senator Tom Carper, republican candidate Kevin Wade and independent party candidate Alex Pires.
Throughout this election season, Pires, an attorney and businessman, has made many personal jabs at Senator Carper, calling him a career politician and making claims that he isn’t in good health. Those accusations continued during the debate.
“You have difficulty focusing Tom, it’s a fact,” said Pires. “I don’t know what diseases or problems you have but it’s a fact and it’ not fair. It’s a six year term. I think what’s happening is he intends to step down in the spring if he gets re-elected and let the governor get to pick and I think it’s wrong. Its undemocratic.”
Carper, who is seeking a third term in the U.S. Senate, fired back, calling the claims bologna and saying Pires should focus on issues that effect the state.
“Dr. Pires would do well to focus on the health of our economy, our finances and the health of all our people who don’t have any health care coverage,” said Carper.
Republican candidate Kevin Wade, an engineering businessman stuck to his talking points, focusing on small business growth and the need for stronger leadership in Washington.
“We have problems with our military, we have problems with our national security, and we have problems with our job situation,” said Wade. “We don’t have an energy policy that makes sense and pointing fingers and blaming one another in Washington is the Washington way. I’ve never gone to a job site to fix a problem where I could spend five minutes talking about who did it and appointing a commission. Leadership counts, it counts every time and it counts all the time and we’ve got to take action now and we need people who can bring small business common sense to the great problems that face our nation.”
Moderators of last night’s debate included Nancy Karibjanian, vice president of Delaware First Media and former WHYY anchor, now a University of Delaware instructor and Jason Mycoff, associate political science professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware.
Students from the University of Delaware and Delaware State University also recorded questions for the candidates which were played on a big screen during the debate. Students brought up issues on education, healthcare for the uninsured and marriage equality.
Representative John Carney and republican contender Tom Kovach kicked off the debate, discussing the economy and taxes.
“You’ve heard of the fiscal cliff, that is automatic spending cuts that kick in at the end of the year as well as the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, congress needs to act to put in place a plan to reset those tax rates,” said Carney. “Small businesses tell me they need certainly big, medium and small businesses need certainty with respect to tax policy, with regulations, that’s what congress can do to put people back to work.”
His opponent, New Castle County Council President Tom Kovach added that congress needs to understand the core problems of why businesses aren’t working. One problem, according to Kovach, is government regulation.
“We have to back up what were doing, make sure we get out of the way as the government and make sure our businesses can operate and perform their business as they should,” said Kovach.
Debates continue Wednesday beginning at 7 p.m. with Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn taking on republican candidate Sher Valenzuela followed by Governor Jack Markell debating against businessman Jeffrey Cragg.
These debates are limited to just the major party candidates.