Galloway, NJ – The William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University and The Press of Atlantic City sponsored a debate between candidates for the US House of Representatives in South Jersey’s 2nd congressional district on October 19.
The party’s lead candidates, Democratic challenger Tim Alexander and Rep. Jeff Van Drew, the Republican incumbent, took part in the hour-long debate on Stockton’s Galloway campus.
John Froonjian, executive director of the Hughes Center, moderated the event.
The debate can be viewed on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GKC5z_GqjY&t=9s.
The following are the questions asked during the debate:
1. Renewable energy development is critical to combating climate change, and New Jersey is investing in wind turbine power as a key component. But there was considerable local opposition to offshore wind farms. How do you balance these competing interests and what do you support?
2. Van Drew, would you explain why you voted against confirming the 2020 election results and do you think Joe Biden is the legitimate President or not? If the committee closes on January 6th, given what you know now, would you vote like that again? Mr. Alexander, some in your party claim that we are in danger of losing our democracy. Are these really the stakes, or is it just partisan exaggeration to mobilize the grassroots?
3. How would you balance the right to vote of all eligible citizens against the concerns of some to strengthen electoral integrity? What practices do you support?
4. How do you assess our immigration situation and which policies do you support?
5. What is your position on whether or not abortion should be legal, and would you support or oppose a federal ban or restriction on women’s abortion rights?
6. The Supreme Court found that the US Constitution does not contain an explicit right to abortion. Some fear the same logic could negate the right to gay marriage and even contraception. How would you vote on a bill to uphold these rights in federal law?
7. What law enforcement actions or reforms, if any, are needed to combat crime?
8. Inflation makes gas and groceries unaffordable for many. It’s considered a key issue in the midterm elections, but tell the truth: What can Congress or the President do to influence large-scale economic trends?
9. District 2 and most of South Jersey have had higher poverty and unemployment rates than the rest of New Jersey for years. Why do things never change, and what steps can you as a congressman take to change that?
10. This is not a federal matter, but voters care about your thoughts as national leaders. Many states have banned classes on racial history, sexuality and gender issues, and controversial books. Where is an appropriate balance between parental rights over the curriculum and educational independence?
11. This question came from a press reader for Mr. Van Drew: “As a senior, would you please explain your votes against capping the price of insulin for seniors and empowering Medicare to increase the cost of drugs under the current anti-inflation law?” Mr. Alexander , the Anti-Inflation Act did little to bring down inflation but includes spending on a range of issues including climate change and healthcare. Do you think the level of federal spending that Democrats have supported is helping or hurting the economy?
12. Do you support or oppose the proposal to forgive student loans?
13. Property taxes are typically a state and local matter, but New Jersey taxpayers were impacted by the Republican Tax Cut Act of 2017, which eliminated the cap on state property tax deductions. Where do you stand on the subject?
14. The 2nd Ward is surrounded by water on two sides and coastal flooding is getting worse. What have you done or what would you do to address the situation? Would you support curbing development or rebuilding along the ocean?
15. President Biden’s recent pardon of people convicted of marijuana possession has sparked calls for the federal offense to be downgraded. Whether for health, economic, or social reasons, where do you stand on marijuana decriminalization?
16. As the war there enters its eighth month, what policies and strategies do you advocate for the United States in dealing with Russia and Ukraine?
Debate sponsors require independent candidates to meet a campaign finance standard in order to qualify for an invitation to attend. These candidates must have raised and spent at least $5,000 — the minimum required to report to the Federal Elections Commission — to qualify. No other candidate has yet reached this standard.
Election day is Tuesday November 8th.
About the Hughes Center
The William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy (www.stockton.edu/hughescenter) at Stockton University serves as a catalyst for research, analysis, and innovative policy solutions on the economic, social, and cultural problems facing New Jersey and advances the civic life of New Jersey through community service, education and research. The center is named for the late William J. Hughes, whose distinguished career includes service in the US House of Representatives, Ambassador to Panama, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Stockton. The Hughes Center can be found on YouTube and followed on Facebook @StocktonHughesCenter, Twitter @hughescenter and Instagram @stockton_hughes_center.
-Story by Stacey Clapp
– Photo by Eliza Hunt