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5th Congressional candidates meet for first debate

The first of several debates for the candidates seeking to be the 5th District Representative in Congress has been held.  The debate was hosted by WestConn and moderated by the League of Women Voters.  Democratic incumbent Jahana Hayes is seeking a second term.  She is being challenged by former federal prosecutor David X. Sullivan of New Fairfield, and former Newtown Police Commissioner Bruce Walczak on the Independent line. 

They covered the topics of taxes, the future of the Supreme Court, police reforms and systemic racism, and the Affordable Care Act.  There were several questions related to the current public health crisis including whether they would support a national mask mandate and what the federal government's role should be in helping families.

When it comes to the Supreme Court, Walczak says the precedent the Republicans set during the Obama administration should be followed this year.  Hayes agreed that what's good for one administration should be good for all administrations.  Sullivan differed, saying that the vote outcome among Senators is known so the hearing in this case is almost pro forma.

On the topic of the Affordable Care Act, Sullivan said there needs to be changes.  He didn't directly address the case coming before the Supreme Court which could lead to it's repeal.  He says the law is flawed because healthy people and those who aren't are paying the same premium if they're the same age.  Sullivan noted that the President discussed an executive order to protect people with pre-existing conditions from being kicked off health insurance if Congress doesn't pass an ACA-alternative.  Walczak says both parties are at fault for not solving the problems.  He called health care a right and not a privilege.  Hayes cited changes by the House to repeal the so-called Cadillac tax and hearings aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs.

On a national mask mandate, Hayes says she doesn't support the idea.  She says the federal government should be making the investment in states so they can make sure if businesses are open, they have PPE and families can quarantine while not falling into debt.  Sullivan called mask protocols a state issue. 

Sullivan said multiple times that Hayes was a surrogate of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and voted with the Democratic party 100-percent of the time.  Hayes says her record reflects bipartisanship, with 11 bills being signed by the President.  Sullivan then added that he got into the race to fight a war against socialism and Marxism.

The pair have four debates set for this month.

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Todd Schnitt

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