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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, September 14, 2018

Jennings Hosts Informative Pa-7 Congressional Forum

Marty Nothstein
Lehigh Valley Discourse is perhaps the worst talk show on local radio. Even the introductory music puts you to sleep. But last night, CACLV's Alan Jennings hosted perhaps one of the best pre-election forums I've ever heard. He did so by letting each candidate answer well prepared questions fully, with no interruptions. Each candidate was able to express himself and herself fully. The result is that this forum had three winners. Here's my summary:

Jennings, an unabashed liberal who lamented that he wished he could be running for Congress, kicked things off  with his own state of the nation:

"Employment is at record highs, and yet the wage growth normally associated with wage growth is sputtering at best. The stock market is hopping, creating wealth for those who can play, but too few can. Our world is a scary place, but diplomacy seems to be out of style. It's been 153 years since slavery was abolished, yet African Americans continue to be treated like second class citizens. Women are running for office in greater numbers than ever, yet they are still being groped on national television. The planet is a bake oven, yet we are retreating on the kinds of measures that can ease the pressure on our environment The world is in desperate need of unity, yet we are increasingly divided."

Tim Silfies
He allowed opening statements, which I'll skip, and then posed well-considered questions to the three candidates seeking to succeed Charlie Dent. They are Mary Nothstein (R), Tim Silfies(L) and Susan Wild (D).

What about Trump's approach to foreign affairs?

Silfies said there are "good things and bad things" about Trump's foreign policy. He objected to hardcore rhetoric towards N. Korea, but liked it when Trump actually sat down with Kim Jong Un. Silfies is a "noninterventionist."

Wild answered that the United States "needs to get back to being a diplomatic leader in this world." She charged Trump with "eviscerating" the diplomatic corps and the state department. She said Trump has failed to work with our allies. She accused him of "bending over for autocrats" at the expense of long-standing allies.

Nothstein lauded Trump for his willingness to sit down with foreign leaders. He declared we need to "take care of America first." He defended trump as the "ultimate outsider" who ignores the traditional approach. He admitted that everyone at this table "cringes at times," but said the intent is good.

Sue Wild
Jennings asks Nothstein to state his position on climate change - Nothstein acknowledged extremes in our weather patterns. He even posited that rolling back regulations designed to spur business "could" hurt our environment. "As a guy who has protected hundreds of acres of his own property, the environment is very important to me. Open space is very important to me. These are things that are near and dear to my heart." But at this point, he has not entirely bought into global warming.

Jennings asks Silfies how a government with Libertarians would still work. - Silfies replied Libertarianism is the "quintessential American philosophy." It focuses on individual liberties with a "common sense limited government." It empowers people at the local level while "helping people who need help."

Jennings asked Wild how she would dispel perception that Democrats are insiders who sell their principles. - She agreed voters are discouraged "because people perceive, probably correctly, that Washington is run by special interests and corporate interests." She will refuse to accept any corporate PAC money. She added, "We are way too polarized." She prides herself on her negotiating skill, developed during 35 years as a lawyer. "I've gotten pretty good at it," she boasted.

Is it time to increase the minimum wage? - Nothstein said a minimum wage should be dictated by the markets and state government. He calls minimum wage jobs "stepping stones" to better jobs. Silfies said that, as a reporter, he heard what impact this has on small business. "The people we want to help end up getting hurt," he observed. There would be unintended consequences. Wild argued the minimum wage should be a "living wage" instead of an "abysmal $7.25 per hour. She wants to phase in a higher minimum wage until it reaches $15 per hour. "The more money we put into the pockets of the average worker, the more those workers are able to consume the kinds of things that build our economy."

We spend more on health care than other countries, but are more unhealthy than most. Is here a better way to provide access to health care? - Silfies would like to see more free market solutions instead of responding to the problem from Washington. He noted Lasik eye surgery is paid for by individuals, and prices have gone down. "Health care is a right, not a privilege," said Wild. She argued that Medicare should be allowed to negotiate drug prices to make it more efficient. Nothstein agreed health care costs have risen dramatically, but that Washington needs to stay out of it..

Why do we have a race problem, and what can Congress do? - Wild said people are being judged by their worst examples. She suggested there must be criminal justice reforms. Se added, "What's happening at the federal level now, with this President and this administration, isn't doing anything at all to change prevailing attitudes about race relations."  Nothstein posited education in inner cities is key. he pointed out that 1,000 kids every year drop out of school before graduating. "We need to fix that problem," he reasoned. He added, "We've been misinforming our youth for years. You do not need a college education to earn a living wage or to have a career." He supports promoting careers in trades and apprenticeships. "I'm a white guy who grew up in Bethlehem," said Silfies."I just don't know." He declared the best thing he could do is "listen and have more conversations with people who are not like me."

Is Amazon good or bad for this country? -  Nothstein likes Amazon,and said e-commerce is now part of our economy. Siflies said it's great. He said he can uber to work from his Airbnb, and return home to find an Amazon package."It's wonder to watch, and it makes all of our lives better," he noted. Wild admitted e-commerce is here to stay,and is an Amazon Prime member. But she's going to end it because Amazon is not good to its customers ad does not pay well. She also laments the lack of human interaction.

How would you solve student debt? - Wild said college should be more affordable. Student debt should be restructured. She argued it's "outrageous" that interest rates on student loans are higher than on her mortgage and car loan. Nothstein slammed predatory for-profit colleges that have catchy marketing plans and load students up with debt, and the students end up unable to graduate. He also pointed out that the cost of education has skyrocketed. Silfies asked,"Why does everyone need to go to college?" . He's done stories about welders and machinists who start at $60,000.He also argued that college cost goes up because administrators know that the government is willing to give loans.

How will you be different than Charlie Dent and how will you emulate him? - Wild said she will forge her own path, and her focus is working families. But she thinks Dent was dignified, civilized and willing to listen. Nothstein said Dent "leaves big shoes to fill," and also did what's right for the district. Nothstein said his focus will be jobs and infrastructure. Silfies likes Dent's demeanor and acknowledged he was able to get support from both sides. He believes he is like Dent in that regard.


Libtard said...

Wonder if MAGA-Nelli was listening, prolly not scared little bitch probably looking for Shawn Christy who is in the area.

Anonymous said...

Disappointing that the candidates could not ask each other questions.

Anonymous said...

Why no questions on immigration, the dems desire for impeachment, border security, sanctuary cities, It looked like they avoided the tough issues.

Anonymous said...

7:08 NO NO NO
the last thing I want to hear are canned identity politics answers to wedge issue questions. Literally can see those types of things ad nauseam in numerous places anytime I want. I'm much more interested in these type of questions that don't get asked over and over and that neither candidate website goes into great detail about.

Anonymous said...

12:15am: "MAGA-Nelli". Too funny!!! The exact reason I did not vote for him and gave my vote to Susan Wild instead. Run, Wild, run!

Bernie O'Hare said...

The very first comment comes from Tricia Meazzacrappa, who wonders why no one likes her.

Anonymous said...

this was rigged in favorof the democrat wild nothing on immigration and borders nothing on sanctuary cities

Anonymous said...

We already know where both candidates stand on immigration issues. The 11% of voters who are undecided also care about other equally important issues. Immigration questions and answers pander to two bases who long ago already decided who they are voting for. I want MORE and NEW information about these candidates.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Disappointing that the candidates could not ask each other questions."

That's for debates. This was NOT a debate, and i really liked it because each candidate was able to go beyond sound bites and really explain how he and she feel.

:"this was rigged in favorof the democrat wild nothing on immigration and borders nothing on sanctuary cities"

You are correct that there were no questions on that topic, but that by no means made the forum rigged. I thought each candidate was really able to shine. Nothstein was very personable and relaxed, very different from the image his detractors have painted. Silfies was able to explain and shed light on the libertarian philosophy, and I liked his honesty. Wild has been criticized by her own supporters for a perpetual scowl, but actually had an infectious laugh on this radio show. I don't think the fix was in for any candidate. If that was so, Alan did a terrible job of rigging it.

"I'm much more interested in these type of questions that don't get asked over and over and that neither candidate website goes into great detail about."

Bingo. Each candidate opened up, was not stuck with 30 second sound bites, and was able to talk about how he/she really feels. The questions about immigration, border security will come in other venues. There are going to be several debates.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:53 AM

Goal: Determining who is the absolute worse, most destructive candidate, so that I can do my duty, on the process.

#vote for Sanjaya Malakar

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have thought about this and deleted all the anonymous comments taking shots at Jennings. He is not running, and that is what this is about. Comments about Alan are off topic and will be deleted unless the cowards posting them sign their name.

LVCI said...

"I have thought about this and deleted all the anonymous comments taking shots at Jennings"

It always amazes me how people try to veer away from the topic. Instead of appreciating Jennings providing a forum they attack him. Thus far none in the local media (outside of yourself highlighting this) has provided this kind of information. Why not attack them instead?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I believe Jennings said there were reporters there.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

She dix not invent that pejorative, it was lifted from the progressives she calls libtards.