Update: The New Jersey Globe has learned that Atlantic County Democrats may be changing their questions following their leaking.
Democratic House candidates in the second congressional district will be asked up to eight questions at a candidate forum hosted by Atlantic County Democrats in Egg Harbor City Thursday evening.
The New Jersey Globe has obtained a list of the questions, which mostly cover policy grounds but also ask the candidates to select a presidential candidate.
Candidates will be provided two minutes for their opening and closing statements, meaning, that between the six Democrats running to take on Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis), prepared remarks will account for almost a third of the forum’s 90-minute runtime.
Questions will be asked of the candidates in cycling alphabetical order, meaning Atlantic County Freeholder Ashley Bennett will answer the first question first, former Cory Booker Staffer Will Cunningham will answer the second question first and so on.
The other candidates are political science professor Brigid Harrison, former teacher Amy Kennedy, West Cape May Commissioner John Francis and retired FBI agent Robert Turkavage.
Candidate response order after the initial ask will be randomly determined.
It’s possible time will prevent every question from being asked. The list of questions can be found below.
- We are in the midst of an interesting presidential Primary race, with moderate vs. progressive, age vs. youth, male vs. female, big dollar vs. small contributions. To help our audience better understand where you stand; please tells us what presidential candidate you currently see as the most viable, and which current candidate do you support and why?
- Middle- and lower-income families are more and more unable to meet the cost of a college education for their children. Consequently, those families and their children have accumulated enormous debt they are unable to pay. There is already a trillion dollar plus mountain of unpaid college loan debt that is also a drag on the general economy. Many loan programs are almost predatory when it comes to those of insufficient means who seek to acquire such loans, especially minorities. Even those offered through some accredited colleges can be somewhat unaffordable or impractical. Secondary education is now almost essential for most young people entering adult society and is the backbone of a well-educated workforce. What role should the federal government play in reducing the cost of college and other secondary education (eg, trade schools) for those seeking to acquire it and what will you do in this regard as a member of Congress?
- To better understand your future intentions, as a freshmen congress person you will probably not have much choice of your committee assignments, but if you could choose, what two committee assignments would you pick and how would you hope to influence those committees? What benefit do you hope to bring to the district?
- There is currently a group of gun rights advocates appearing at county and city council meetings, asking for the local entity to declare a non-binding referendum as a 2nd amendment sanctuary area, even though there are currently no pressing new, New Jersey gun regulations. Talking with some of their representatives; they agree to closing the gun show loophole and gun registration. Where to you stand on issues such as red flag laws, open carry, limited gun clips, or other efforts to reduce gun violence or suicide prevention.
- All current Presidential candidates agree we need to fix our Healthcare system, which currently represents 18% of our economy. Approximately 25 million Americans are covered by health insurance plans that are not provided by employers or through the federal government. Those plans are principally purchased by small business owners. There are many such small business owners in our community. The monthly premiums for such plans can range from $1000 to $2500 a month, in addition to copays and large deductibles that must also be paid. Unfortunately, this group is smallest voting constituency of insured voters though they pay the highest price per person in the country for health insurance. What would you suggest in federal health insurance reforms or plans to help those purchasing these plans? What plan for fixing healthcare do you support and how would your plan be implemented so that it encourages support from all stakeholders without wreaking havocs on our economy?
- China is using its booming economy to build up their military while winning hearts and minds globally with infrastructure projects and stealing our intellectual property. Russia is still meddling in our elections while building supersonic nuclear weapons. North Korea and Pakistan are stock piling nuclear weapons, while Iran continues to destabilize the Middle East and seeks nuclear weapons itself. We’ve now been in Afghanistan for 19 years. The President is asking for $718 billion in the 2020 defense budget. What do you see as our most pressing foreign policy need, how would you like to see our military used going forward?
- Even most of the ardent climate change deniers are realizing that humans are affecting our climate. As our current President dismantles environmental regulations, how would you prioritize our country’s climate policies going forward for the next decade? Where do we get the most “bang for our buck”?
- This President and Mitch McConnel have divided our country more than any other time since probably the Civil War, and as that was largely regional, since revolutionary war pitted loyalist against patriots. How do you think we can come together as a nation? How do we undo the effects of hate speech and confirmation biased fueled by partisan news outlets and social media?