Delaware U.S. senate candidates argue over health care, government spending; Carney goes solo


Chris Coons and Kevin Wade debated the merits of the U.S. senate. John Carney got the floor to himself.


Delaware candidates for U.S. Senate and U.S. House participated at a debate at the University of Delaware Wednesday night, despite a no show candidate.

The U.S. House debate led off the two hour session. An empty chair that was supposed to belong to republican House candidate Rose Izzo remained on the stage, even though Izzo dropped out of the debate two weeks ago.

Incumbent Congressman John Carney, D-Delaware, decided to move forward with the debate and had the opportunity to talk openly about his position on local and national issues.

Carney fielded questions on everything from crime in Wilmington to Ebola to how he feels about legalizing marijuana.

As news broke Wednesday that a second health worker in Dallas, Texas contracted Ebola from a patient, Carney was asked if the U.S. is taking the right steps in containing the virus.

Carney said that while health workers are continuing treatment and containment efforts, there have been some errors. 

“What’s troubling to me, what all the experts seem to agree with what the right protocols are, but we don’t seem to have trained the health care professionals to those protocols and obviously there have been some missteps.”

He said there needs to be continued efforts to treat Ebola in West Africa and continue to screen travelers so it doesn’t further spread across borders.

When the topic changed to the hot button issue of legalizing marijuana, Carney didn’t hesitate to say he’s against it.

“What worries me about full legalization is unintended consequences,” he said. “We know, what we’re seeing right now in our state is an epidemic of heroin use and abuse terrorizing people’s lives, killing young people and I kind of believe based on life experiences, that these things are gateways.”

A University of Delaware Center of Communication poll released this week showed 56 percent of Delawareans are in favor of legalizing marijuana and while Carney said it’s a state-by-state issue, he urged Delawareans to see what happens in states like Colorado and Washington.

Carney, a city of Wilmington resident, added that illegal drugs are a major contributor to the violence in Wilmington.

“It’s a drug problem, it’s a gun problem and it’s a social problem,” he said.

Carney is seeking his third term in office. In addition to Izzo, Carney is up against Green Party candidate Bernard August and Libertarian candidate Scott Gesty, who were not invited to be a part of the debate.

Chris Coons vs Kevin Wade

In the Senate debate, Sen. Chris Coons and republican challenger Kevin Wade disagreed on most topics they were presented.

Wade criticized Coons for his support of the Affordable Care Act, saying it’s not a benefit to most Delawareans and businesses. 

“My small business had our health insurance canceled,” said Wade. “We’ve carried insurance for 30 years but it was canceled because of Obamacare.”

Coons admitted at that the ACA has created some challenges for small businesses but said he’s working on legislation to help.

 “Broadly speaking, 8 million more Americans having health insurance and having access to quality affordable health care, is a good thing,” said Coons.  

Federal budget

Coons said the aging population mixed with the unrest in the Middle East, means significant costs for the nation.

“The progress that we’ve made in reducing the deficit and making it a sustainable deficit, I think is well worth noting,” Coons said. “But going forward I don’t see a balanced budget happening in the next five years because the changes we would have to make to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are unacceptable and wouldn’t be supported to the American people.”

Wade said he wants to see a long-term plan in place, such as the “Penny Plan,” to reduce the nation debt.

“Cut one penny from each dollar in federal spending and make that cut once a year,” Wade said.

Coons criticized the plan saying, the nation wouldn’t be able to meet its obligations and keep up with increasing costs if they cut into the baseline.

Wade and Coons will also face Green Party candidate Andrew Groff in the Nov. 4 election. 

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