The first two debates between 4th Congressional District Representative Jim Himes and Republican challenger Dan Debicella have been held. The first was a telephone town hall sponsored by the AARP. The next was held in Wilton Sunday.
Debicella, who ran for the position in 2010, says safety and transportation are key issues. He wants to invest in smart maintenance to make sure roads and rails are safe. He says that will go a long way in making sure commuters stay safe.
Himes says he's worked hard on Metro North issues. He and others in the Connecticut delegation pushed for new leadership at the railroad, who has met the demand to install "positive train control" devices on all trains. Himes says those devices will sense if there is an impending derailment or crash coming up regardless of the conductor's attentiveness.
They also addressed Social Security. Himes says in about 30 years Social Security will begin to pay out more than it brings in, if nothing is done. He says some equitable and fair reforms will need to be made, but not privatization proposals made by the Republican party.
Debicella says he would not vote to raise the retirement age to support Social Security solvency. He advocated for a plan to have Social Security increases attached to prices not wage, which he says will lower benefits to wealthier people who don't need it.
Another of the topics covered was economic recovery. Himes says there is a long way yet to go, but there has been progress. He cited 10 million private sector jobs added, an economy growing at about 3-percent and a declining deficit.
But Debicella says Connecticut is 50th out of 50 in terms of job creation and people can't save for retirement unless the economy robust. He proposes closing loopholes for special interest groups and lowering tax rates for the middle class and small businesses, paid for with the loophole closures.