The trio of candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in New York's 4th Congressional District answered questions that touched on many issues, from gun control, abortion and Obamacare, to tax cuts, same-sex marriage and immigration Wednesday night during a debate at the Long Beach Library.
Sixteen-year incumbent Carolyn McCarthy, D-Mineola, 17-year Nassau County Legislator Francis Becker, R-Lynbrook, and Frank Scaturro, C-New Hyde Park, who served as Counsel for the Constitution on the Senate Judiciary Committee, fielded written questions from district residents who packed the Long Beach Library auditorium Wednesday at a candidate forum hosted by the Long Beach League of Women Voters.
The 4th Congressional District will encompass all of Wantagh south of Jerusalem Avenue under a redistricting plan approved in March by a three-judge Federal Court panel. The entire Wantagh community is currently covered by Rep. Peter King, R-Seaford.
During his opening statement, Scaturro focused on the nation’s ongoing economic woes, with a debt climbing to $16 trillion, which he called “the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression." In an effort to lump his opponents together, Scaturro said McCarthy has only contributed to this crisis with her votes for increased spending, Wall Street bailouts, a failed stimulus and Obamacare, and that Becker has a comparable record locally.
A former nurse, McCarthy called herself an activist for public health and safety issues, with a focus on the economy and education. “That means I will always fight for Medicare and Social Security,” she said during her initial comments.
The congresswoman also noted that the National Journal, a weekly magazine that reports on politics and governmental policies, listed her as among the most bipartisan representatives in Congress.
Becker, who arrived at the forum just after opening statements, used part of his time during his answer to a question about genetically engineered foods to talk about what he called the election season’s most important issues: the economy and unemployment.
“This election, more than anything, is about our economy,” the legislator said.
At the close of the forum, after the candidates answered more than a dozen questions, Becker — who defeated Scaturro in the Republican primary in June, as he did in 2010, the year he lost to McCarthy in the general election — vowed that, if elected, he would go to Washington with the same determination as in Nassau.
“I will fight the out-of-control spending, the annual $20 million deficits and the onerous rules and regulations that are crushing our economy,” said Becker, who promised job growth and “real prosperity.
Scaturro, as he did throughout the forum, tried to distinguish himself from his opponents in his closing remarks. “We can turn things around, but you’re not going to get that with a 16- and 17-year incumbents,” he said. “... Our federal crises is the crises of Nassau County, as our families are crushed by tax-and-spend policies,” he said.
This was after McCarthy closed with a statement that focused on the jobs in specific fields on Long Island, such as construction, that she said were due to policies she either spearheaded or supported.
“My opponents seem to support the same financial issues that got us into trouble in the first place,” she said in an attempt to distinguish herself from her challengers.
Among the few issues all three candidates agreed only, at least on fundamental grounds, was their opposition to an proposed amendment to eliminate the Electoral College.