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There were three debates in the 4th Congressional District, which includes Redding, Ridgefield and towns in southwestern Connecticut.  Democratic incumbent Jim Himes is facing a challenge from Republican Harry Arora.  Himes has represented the District since 2009.  Arora is a hedge fund owner who emigrated to the United States from India for college. Himes previously worked at Goldman Sachs.  Arora traded commodities for Enron.

The pair differ on nearly every issue.  Arora is a staunch defender of President Trump’s foreign policy and his America First campaign.  Himes is critical of the President’s “love affair” with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.  Arora supports tariffs on China and U.S. allies.  Himes says the tariffs are hurting U.S. businesses.

On the Paris Accord, Arora says pulling out of the climate deal was good because the measure was ineffective.  Himes was critical of the move. 

As for health care, Himes acknowledged that the Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect.  He says it has led to more people having health insurance though.  Arora says the ACA is unfair and inefficient.  He suggested separating people with pre-existing conditions into their own subsidized health care pool and allow healthy people more options.

When it comes to immigration, Arora called for a “compassionate but firm” approach, but didn’t provide specifics.  He was critical of Himes for voting against a bill that provided $25 billion for a border wall, barred the separation of children from their parents at the border and provided a legal path to citizenship for DREAMERS. 112 Republicans and all Democrats voted against the bill.  Himes says he wanted a Senate bill that included money for border security, but not a wall.  It would have created an e-verify system for employers and supported a “rigorous path to citizenship” for people currently in the U.S. undocumented.

The pair also discussed gun violence.  Himes favored voluntary smart gun technology that would allow a gun to be fired only by its owner.  He’d also like to see Connecticut’s post-Sandy Hook laws implemented across the country, including universal background checks, limits on assault weapons and on the rounds in a magazine.  Arora says any new law would have to be implementable, in line with the Constitution, and would have to work.

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Dave Rinelli
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