STATE WIDE–Illegal immigration is bad. Legal immigration should be supported. Your money is being spent too generously, and Hoosiers have differing opinions on whether abortion legality should be left up to the states. All of those points were part of a debate for U.S. Senate, Sunday.
The debate was put on by the Indiana Debate Commission, a non-partisan and non-profit organization made up of people from around the state who believe Hoosier voters should have access to candidate viewpoints.
“Nov. 8, 2022, is about Hoosier women, women who have lost their reproductive rights. And even though I’m a man, Hoosier women trust me to do the right thing,” said Democrat Tom McDermott, mayor of Hammond, who is challenging Republican incumbent Todd Young.
McDermott was asked what Hoosiers could expect from him were he to be elected. He said he believes the most important issue is making it federal law that women have a right to abortion.
Young said he believes Hoosiers are looking for a “fighter, who has the courage to stand up against these profligate spending patterns”, meaning the spending that Young says has caused inflation.
Libertarian James Sceniak said he believes civil liberties and veterans need protection, and that Hoosiers and their wallets should be taken care of “through good economic policy”.
Young’s comments on spending drew criticism from both of his opponents, who say that Young has himself contributed to excess spending, supporting bills during the pandemic that Young saus helped keep Hoosiers and their businesses afloat economically, in addition to the CHIPS Act.
“We need to stop spending trillions of dollars that will just exacerbate this problem,” said Young, criticizing the Biden administration for continued spending he believes is making inflation worse.
Both McDermott and Sceniak say the issue of immigration is personal, with close family members who have immigrated to this country. While McDermott said he supports DACA recipients and “DREAMERS”, he did not offer much in the way of solutions to illegal immigration.
Young said he believes the previous administration was closer to the mark on immigration policy.
“Yes, we do indeed need some actual fencing to help secure the border,” he said, citing his experience working near the border as a Marine, and the fentanyl problem that has become a leading cause of death for young people.
Sceniak said he believes making legal immigration easier could help ease the influx, saying both Republicans and Democrats have failed to solve the issue.
While McDermott and Sceniak support cannabis reform at the federal level, Young said it is not a “first tier” priority for him.
“To put it charitably, this would not be my top priority running for public office, because Hoosiers don’t want it to be my top priority,” he said, describing it as a third tier priority. Young said getting a grip on inflation is more important to him, but the federal government can get out of the way of state laws by making it possible to bank with marijuana money.
The debate covered other topics, such as the climate and whether white supremacy is a growing danger, based on questions submitted by Hoosiers. The debate was moderated by University of Indianapolis Political Science Prof. Laura Merrifield Wilson.