The midterm election is nearing, and it is a tight race in Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District for candidates Marty Nothstein (R) and Susan Wild (D) who are both longtime Pennsylvania residents campaigning across the area and voicing their stance on important issues facing the country.
Democrat Susan Wild, who has lived in the Lehigh Valley for over 30 years, is leading with 46 percent of potential voters, while Republican Marty Nothstein, who was born in Emmaus, Pa., is at 40 percent, according to a Monmouth University poll.
“I looked at the world they were going to inherit: crushing student loan debt, climate change that will ruin the world as we know it, partisan gridlock in Washington, and economics that make it evident they will not be better off than their parents,” Wild said, expressing why she decided to run for a seat in the house.
Wild was an attorney and the first female solicitor of Allentown, Pa.
“After reducing taxes to the lowest rate in 27 years in Lehigh County and securing the future of Cedarbrook nursing home for the county residents, I’ve realized that Washington needs the same kind of leadership. Our country is starting its own turnaround, and I want to contribute to that and keep the momentum going,” Said Nothstein, who served on the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners.
Nothstein was a cyclist on the U.S. Olympic team, winning a silver medal in Atlanta, GA, at the 1996 Olympics and a gold medal in Sydney, Australia, at the 2000 Olympic games.
In an interview with each candidate, the nominees discussed the nation’s toughest issues.
What is your stance on healthcare? What healthcare policies would you support?
Nothstein: “Healthcare is perhaps the most important factor in life, and it should be kept as accessible and affordable as possible. Obamacare did not control costs, nor did it increase overall access. The reforms needed include cross-state competition and legal reform to lower costs and increase value. The Right to Try Act has made a difference in the lives of many patients, and I support it.”
Last May, President Donald Trump signed the Right to Try bill into law, making it legal for doctors to prescribe patients drugs that are still in the testing phases and have not been approved by the FDA.
Wild: “I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. In Congress, I will fight for universal health care and protect Americans from continuous efforts of Washington Republicans to increase the cost of healthcare premiums and prescription drugs, eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions and hit older Americans with an age tax.”
Each candidate weighed in on immigration and the Dream Act, a bill that would grant lawful permanent resident status to illegal immigrants under the age of 18 if passed; though the bill is currently under review by the Committee on the Judiciary.
Where do you stand on immigration? Do you support the Dream Act?
Nothstein: “America is a nation of immigrants. Legal immigration continually adds to the base of proud, hardworking citizens who innovate and grow the economy. Illegal immigration drives down wages and is often tied to dangerous gang and drug-related behavior that threatens our families. The Dream Act has merit, and I don’t think these children should be deported.”
Wild: “It is essential that we pass comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform. This must include a clean Dream Act and a pathway to citizenship, as well as an absolute end to family separation policies, while still maintaining the security of our borders. I think immigration needs to be one of the priorities of a new Congress. We must also re-unite every child with their parents, immediately.”
What can Congress do to boost the economy and create jobs and better wages for individuals and families?
Nothstein: “Congress can create the climate for new businesses to start and others to relocate into the country. That result is happening now, reversing the trend of the last 20 years. We have abundant resources here, a bright and able workforce, and low taxes. We need to continue paving the way for businesses to thrive by not burdening them with undue regulations, red tape, and high taxes. America is full of ideas to create jobs. We need to step back and allow it to happen.”
Wild: “We must invest in our workers by strengthening our unions, raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024, and supporting common-sense policies that will help families succeed in the workforce: paid family leave, equal pay for equal work and affordable child-care. I will invest in infrastructure projects and encourage new energy technology jobs to come to the Lehigh Valley to ensure economic opportunity for all those living in the 7th district.”
With rising tuition and the national student debt at over $1 trillion, what are your ideas about making college affordable?
Nothstein:“Tuition increases have dramatically outpaced inflation. One of the drivers in student debt is found in Obamacare, where student loans were taken away from private banks (where 2 percent interest rates were common) and serviced by the federal government at 7 percent. Students also need to decide if college is the right choice instead of the automatic choice. High paying jobs are available out of high school with minimal training that can lead to excellent, lucrative careers. When colleges start to compete for students, tuition will come down.”
Wild:“Congress needs to treat student loan debt as a threat to the country’s future prosperity. The more than $1.3 trillion currently owed by young Americans is hamstringing an entire generation. We need to increase federal aid to states, renegotiate existing student loans, assist students with high costs, and hold colleges and universities accountable for skyrocketing tuition costs and fees. I will also fight against any attempts to cut funding for federal Pell grants.
The midterm election is on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
The final day to register to vote is Wednesday, Oct. 9.
To register, visit: https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov
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