First-term incumbent Rep. Nan Hayworth faced Democrat challenger Sean Patrick Maloney on Wednesday, during a forum sponsored by the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce.
They are running for a seat in the new 18th New York Congressional District. Recent polls indicate the race tight.
The 45 minute exchange allowed both candidates a brief opportunity to describe their qualifications and express differences on several key issues
Contender Maloney served three years as staff secretary for President Bill Clinton.
“You get to see a lot about how the federal government works – and doesn't work,” Maloney said.
Hayworth highlighted her career as a doctor, plus long tenure as resident and businesswoman in the Hudson Valley.
“I am one of you,” she remarked. “My job as a federal representative is to lift the burdens that right now have been placed so heavily upon you.”
“We need to bring the federal government to the right size, that the tax code serves you, regulations don't choke your businesses, and energy prices do not thwart you,” Hayworth said.
Mahoney dismissed Republican policies saying the Tea Party platform is not working.
“It is wrong to end the guaranteed benefit of Medicare. It is wrong to destroy Planned Parenthood,” Maloney said. “And it's wrong to do it, when we ask no sacrifices of those at the very top.”
“If our sacrifice is to get another tax cut, I think that's wrong and I think it divides America,” Maloney said. “It will not balance the budget, it'll blow a hole in the deficit, $5 trillion over the next ten years, and we will never get back to zero in terms of paying down the deficit.”
“We've been here before, and we can go forward together, but we've got to do what works,” Maloney said, suggesting that the deficit would have already been paid off, had America maintained the economic policies of the Clinton administration. “What works is coming together, asking everyone to pitch in, pay their fair share. Cut spending, you bet, but also ask the wealthiest to kick in as well.”
Hayworth offered a conservative approach.
“We have a federal government that spends a trillion dollars each year, more than what it takes in takes in,” she noted. “As everyone knows, if you ran your business that way without a budget, you would be out of business in a heartbeat and that would no one any good.”
Regarding Medicare, Hayworth suggested overhauling the Affordable Health Care Act. “I would repeal that law and replace it, not to return to what we had before, we need to do better,” she said. Hayworth's solution includes health care savings accounts, broader insurance marketplace, malpractice liability reform, and policy surcharges to fund those in financial need.