On Thursday night, voters in the third congressional district got a better look at their candidates.
The debate at the JCC in Woodbridge had no audience and several other precautions were taken due to the pandemic.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro is the Democrat and incumbent seeking a 16th term in Congress. Republican Margaret Streicker, a real estate executive, hopes to unseat her. Dr. Justin Paglino, the Green Party candidate, is hoping to do the same.
When asked about the economy, DeLauro said the first thing that needs to happen is to get the virus under control. She added that they need a tax structure that incentivizes businesses to stay and to help people get back on their feet with unemployment benefits.
“What we need to do to create jobs is we need to have a strong defense base. We need to have a strong manufacturing base, advanced manufacturing which our state is leading on. We have to invest in infrastructure,” said DeLauro.
Streicker said that Connecticut has been suffering for many years and that they have to acknowledge that promoting a business environment is fundamentally important.
“We do need to open safely but swiftly. We also need to very much promote a business environment that acknowledges that we’re in competition, not just with overseas, but we’re in competition with our neighboring states.
Paglino said what’s needed is a progressive income tax and that vital services for the poor need to be provided.
“I would like to redivert money from the pentagon towards green new deal and social welfare programs, infrastructure building,” said Paglino.
When asked about healthcare, Paglino advocated Medicare for all.
“Medicare for all is the way to do it,” said Paglino. “We have a tremendous injustice going on in our country with the number of people that are uninsured, underinsured.”
Streicker called for competition in the healthcare system.
“We need competition, accountability, and transparency within our healthcare system,” said Streicker. “Right now we have a foundation that simply isn't working. To throw more money at it will not help it.”
DeLauro pushed for universal healthcare while still giving people an option, saying she proposed a plan in that direction.
“Which would allow every American to enroll in an enhanced Medicare and give people the opportunity to choose, if they so choose, the healthcare they get through their employer or they can opt to join in with Medicare,” said DeLauro. “It's universal healthcare which is affordable, and it's quality. And that's the track on which I believe we should move.”
In their closing remarks, all three spoke about the importance of representing the 3rd Congressional district’s constituents, with Streicker saying the job calls for fresh ideas, DeLauro saying it’s about helping make lives better, and Paglino pushing for a change to the two-party system.
“The voices of Connecticut are not being heard, and we need a representative who will in fact work as hard for us as we do for ourselves and bring home and deliver for the people of Connecticut,” said Streicker.
“There is a clear choice in this election. I will fight for tax cuts for middle-class families, against the lobbyists, against the corporations who are the first in line to take care of themselves,” said DeLauro.
“Congress has a hearing impediment. It’s part of a disorder I call two-party syndrome. Symptoms include hyper-partisanship and polarization. Fortunately, there is a cure, it’s called ranked-choice voting. The reason your representative doesn’t listen to you is they don’t have to. All they have to do is convince you that they’re better than the one other choice. That’s the root problem. So let’s get ranked-choice voting, end the two-party system so we can vote for what we want,” said Paglino.