By Dan Wing
WILLOW GROVE, Pa., (CBS) — Four of the candidates running for the 13th district congressional seat, which is currently held by Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Allyson Schwartz, took part in a town hall style question and answer session hosted by the NAACP at First Baptist Church of Crestmont in Willow Grove Monday night.
The lone Republican at the debate and forum was Dee Adcock, who was joined by Democrats Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, State Rep. Brendan Boyle and Senator Daylin Leach. After a brief round of opening statements, the candidates were hit with questions on health care reform, education funding and reform, voter rights, partisan gridlock in Washington, and many other topics, including the Keystone Pipeline, which only Adcock supported. The democrats were all opposed, with Dr. Arkoosh saying the risks to the environment are too high.
“It goes near very critical water aquifers and other things that would be critically damaged if there was ever a leak. And of course it just encourages the use of the dirtiest coal-tar sand that we know of in the world,” Dr. Arkoosh said.
All of the candidates also supported helping the U.S. Postal Service become profitable again, implementing some form of mandatory universal community or military service, and compromising with the other side of the aisle.
There was no agreement on voter registration, as the Democrats bashed the idea while Adcock supported it.
“We should know that it’s the right person voting, and its a person voting, so that there is no voter fraud,” Adcock said.
State Rep. Boyle responded by saying the voting process needs to be made easier, and more accessible.
“The major problem we have in Pennsylvania is not voter fraud, its not too many people voting, it’s too few people voting,” Boyle said.
Dr. Arkoosh proposed moving the actual day to vote to a Saturday, while Leach said Voter ID is nothing but a plan by Republicans to suppress Democratic voters.
On the topic of partisan gridlock in Washington, all candidates said they would try to work with people from the other side of the aisle with Senator Leach and Representative Boyle pointed to examples of bipartisan work in the past. Leach said the biggest problem in politics is gerrymandering, which all said they would work to get rid of. However, Dr. Arkoosh said its not realistic to put an end to all gerrymandering, and instead said she would look for solutions to partisan politics now.