By Jericka Duncan
BRISTOL, Pa. (CBS) - Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District is considered one of the state’s most competitive races. The candidates, Republican Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick and Democrat Kathy Boockvar, faced off Thursday in their first televised debate at Bucks County Community College in Bristol.
The moderator and political science professor William Pezza asked questions ranging from how to end the gridlock in Washington D.C., to how each candidate differs when it comes to the economy. The candidates spent about an hour debating several issues in front of a crowd of roughly 200 people.
“When she says she wants to boost the economy, it means she wants to reach in your pocket, tax you higher, send the dollars to Washington to create economic activity,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “The result was that 2009 stimulus bill, no jobs were created; no long term family sustaining good jobs.”
“I’m about action, not about words,” Boockvar proclaimed. “Right out the gate, the first package of bills I would put together would be dealing with hitting jobs and the economy.”
Other big issues discussed include healthcare and the governments role when it comes to abortions and birth control access.
“I think that Congressman Fitzpatrick and our current congress have really gone out of their way to roll back women’s rights on this and so many issues,” said Boockvar.
“The biggest issue in 2012 facing women, including my three daughters, is the fact that there are 850,000 fewer women working in the economy today than there were just 31/2 or 4 years ago.” said Fitzpatrick.
The candidates did agree on campaign finance reform. Both agree that there should be a limit to how much special interests groups can spend on television ads that often depict candidates unfairly.
Ed Mackhouse who came to the debate wearing a baseball cap supporting presidential candidate Governor Mitt Romney, says he plans to support Congressman Fitzpatrick.
“They were both competitive,” said Mackhouse. “Both sound very good but Mike Fitzpatrick won because he has the experience.”
Burlington County Community College student Melissa Montney says after hearing both sides, she is throwing her support behind Boockvar. “I’m really for women’s rights,” Montney expressed. “I think that if we go with the other candidate, women’s rights are going to go back.