Democrat Max Della Pia and Republican Nick Langworthy faced off earlier this month in their only scheduled debate. Both want to be elected as congressmen from New York’s new 23rd district, which includes all of Chautauqua County.
Debate moderators noted in their introductions that neither man actually resides in the district, which also includes part of the southern part and much of Erie County. The debate was on WIVB-TV (Channel 4).
The first questions were about slowing inflation and other economic issues.
Langworthy said inflation was hitting families hard and vowed he would “Fight again for American energy independence.” He criticized the actions of the Biden administration on energy. Della Pia said that energy independence was a “national security issue” and said the real problem was not Biden, but Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Della Pia talked about the Inflation Reduction Act. “To say that spending three-quarters of a trillion dollars to reduce costs for Americans is absolute madness.” Langworthy replied “It would be like a family at the kitchen table wondering how to pay their bills and saying, ‘Let’s max out the credit card this month.'”
Langworthy criticized the White House for trying to link rising energy costs to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He said costs were already rising before the invasion began in February.
Subsequent questions focused on reducing gun violence. Langworthy said, “More laws are not the answer. We need to address the issue of mental health…the people who commit these heinous murders and crimes are not deterred by the laws. He said there should be a federally funded study on what drives mass shooters to act.
“We shouldn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” Della Pia said, advocating universal background checks for everyone. “We need national, sensible gun safety legislation.”
Later there were questions about abortion. Della Pia criticized other states that restrict abortion and said they want those restrictions to be enforced nationwide. Langworthy said New York was the most liberal state in the country when it came to abortion laws, and added that he was pro-life but supported exceptions for rape, incest and to maternal health regarding abortion.
Della Pia said he was “not sure” whether Biden should run for re-election, saying it was his personal decision. He hailed Biden’s presidency. When asked if Donald Trump should run again, Langworthy also said it was a personal decision, but added that the US economy was booming during his presidency and his policies economy should be restored.
“To say that the economy was doing very well because of the former president is absurd,” Della Pia said in a rebuttal. “He received a great saving.”
Both Della Pia and Langworthy supported US aid to Ukraine. Della Pia said Republicans refuse to condemn Putin. “It’s just total nonsense”, Langworthy replied “Here is your sentence, Putin is a murderer and a madman.”
In his closing statements, Langworthy said: “I’m running to bring a stable, conservative voice to the people of Western New York…to confront Joe Biden’s disastrous record that has led to record inflation.”
Della Pia said his leadership style, honed over 32 years in the Air Force, was about “Team building, mutual respect and inspiring people to join something bigger than themselves and do something good for their country.” Calling most to Congress driven by ego and money, he continued, “We need to send a different type of congressman, someone who is a public servant. Someone who really wants to work with others.
Some of the other questions asked during the hour-long debate focused on immigration, the 2020 presidential election, health care, and the legalization of cannabis. The debate is on the WIVB-TV site.
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