Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Conflict Between Congressional Candidates

Stockton University’s Hughes Center hosted the Second District Congressional Debate between Democrat Jeff Van Drew and Republican Seth Grossman on campus.
Conflict Between Congressional Candidates
By: Sierra Estremera

The 2018 New Jersey Congressional Debate which would decide the next House of Representatives member for the 2nd District, was held on Stockton’s main campus last Wednesday. Stockton students and faculty filled the room alongside community members and members of the press., The debate between candidates Republican Seth Grossman and Democrat Jeff Van Drew was televised on local channels. The debate at times became animated between the two contestants, and the crowd at times cheered, clapped, laughed and booed.

When asked for their opening statements, there seemed to be a vast difference in the way that the candidates chose to appeal to their audience.

“This is about America. What kind of America do we want to see in the future? I believe that I have the ability to bring us together. To work hard to make sure that Republicans and Democrats together can chart a better future for South Jersey, and New Jersey and the United States of America,” said Van Drew.

“I support President Trump. That’s why I’m running. I want to give him a strong majority of Republicans in Congress. I want to expose and defeat the ignorance, intolerance and hatred of those Democrats who are using nothing but fake news and fake charges to destroy President Trump, Brett Kavanaugh and anyone else who gets in their way,” countered Grossman.
The questions that were asked during the debate came from Stockton faculty, students, and the public. The second question was directed initially to Grossman, asking where he stood on President Trump’s efforts to control immigration.

He responded, “If immigrants continue to come here, the United States will be as poor, and as violent as the countries that they are running away from.” He then went on to add, “People who are hard cases, such as the people who have not learned English, should have to leave.” This was met with a mixed response from the audience, some laughing, some clapping.
One of the later questions that was asked to Grossman was about the healthcare system and about iff Obamacare should be eliminated. As the candidates went back and forth, voicing their opinions and ideas on the situation, the topic returned to immigration.

“When you go to the emergency room, it is the most expensive form of medical care that there is, and it is only a band aid affect and people get sicker because they have no continuity of care,” statedVan Drew.

In response to Van Drew’s statement, Grossman retaliated with,“Well, Senator Jeff Van Drew just gave me an idea how to find all the illegal aliens without taking a step. Just send them down to the emergency room of any hospital and we will find a whole bunch and maybe we can solve our problems. And if we didn’t have to subsidize the illegal immigrants, healthcare and insurance would be a whole lot cheaper.”

When asked for their closing statements, the candidates had a marked difference in the impressions that they were leaving on their audience. Van Drew said his closing statement first, stating,
“I believe that right here, right now, we need a change. And as your Congressman, I will be able to make that change.” He then went on to add, “I love the opportunity that this country gave me. I want to be your Congressman. One that you are proud of, no matter who you are.”

Grossman on the other hand, focused on Stockton University students:
“I’m disappointed that no students asked about open borders, and that the students are not concerned over this.” Grossman went on to say, “I’m hoping that maybe, Stockton University, with some new leadership will have diversity—”

And then with murmurs echoing from the crowd, Grossman was cut off, as the moderator stated the candidates were out of time.

After the debate, when interviewed, this is what the candidates each took a different approach on the debate.

Van Drew stated “There has never been a clearer difference between two candidates.”

Grossman “I would love to come to Stockton again. I have been trying to get to speak at Stockton for years, and this is the first time that they have let me come. Maybe they will let me come again someday.”

Candidate Seth Grossman being interviewed by reporters after the debate.
Candidate Jeff Van Drew taking photos with supporters after the debate

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