By Kathy Canavan
Republican Hans Reigle, a Cinnabon fan, and Democrat Lisa Blunt Rochester, a chocoholic, debated this morning at Widener University Delaware Law School.
In addition to the Congressional candidates’ stances on ISIS and gender-neutral bathrooms, listeners learned Rochester keeps a stash of her favorite chocolates on her nightstand and Reigle’s go-to sweet is Cinnabons.
She’s a Game of Thrones fan, and he’s a Level !0 on Pokemon Go.
She enjoyed the popular animated movie Finding Dory. He walks his dog with his three kids every day after school.
She had her last Capriotti’s Bobbie two weeks ago. He had his two months ago. “It’s like having a taste of Thanksgiving any day you want it,” he said.
While post-debate listeners on WDEL’s Susan Monday show ripped the production for its softball questions, both candidates were queried on ISIS, trade, Syria and states’ rights.
The candidates agreed said the state’s next Congress member must work across the aisle. Both said they would support equal pay for equal work, would be willing to renegotiate controversial trade deals, and neither thinks U.S. should turn a blind eye to human rights violations. They clashed on guns in the classroom. He supports armed class resource officers; she said guns have no place in the classroom.
Neither supported the “locker room” remarks of Donald Trump, but Reigle said he would, at this point, still vote for Trump because he doesn’t like Clinton’s actions in Benghazi or her email erasures.
“There’s nothing I can say that would defend his – quote – locker room banter,” Reigle said. “I’m running a campaign based on jobs, wasteful spending and security issues. I’m remaining on task.”
“The fact that this individual could actually be our commander-in-chief, that this person could lead our country and the implications that has from a policy perspective, a Supreme Court perspective and a global perspective in terms of the danger it might cause, I’m really concerned about that,” Rochester said.
They diverged on states’ rights. Rochester said she would support moving some functions to a state level but she asserted the role of the federal government is still very important in civil rights and in equal opportunity.
“To me, there is a role for the federal government and a role for the state government,” she said. Asked how much he was a states’-rights person, Reigle answered, “A lot. “ He said he thinks that anything that can be shifted to the states should be.
Reigle, a Delaware State University aviation professor and veteran of the Air Force Reserves who has spent time in 45 countries, said he’s a free-market supporter who believes the fewer barriers to trade the better as long as the interests of American consumers are protected.
Rochester, former Delaware Secretary of Labor and state personnel director who has lived in the Middle East and spent time in China, said she would want to be certain that trade was fair as well as free.
Rochester said education is a key priority of hers from “cradle to career.”
She said college affordability is a problem for too many and she would support ways to refinance college loans, strengthen community colleges and offering programs like Delaware’s SEED Program that offers two free years of college.
Reigle had a different take: “I would like those colleges to start tapping into those endowments and possibly lower tuition costs,’ he said. “We have a $20 trillion debt, and we can’t afford to do all the things we want to do.”
In Syria, Rochester said she would support air strikes or no-fly zones, but not boots on the ground. Reigle said he would support whatever American generals recommend in Syria — either no-fly zones, air strikes or boots on the ground.
Reigle, who said he has solar panels on one of his homes, said he is not opposed to coal or alternative forms of energy. “I would support any innovation but I do think that fossil fuels are an important part of our economy and keeping prices low on that and I wouldn’t support anything that destroyed jobs,” he said.
Rochester was cautious: “ I don’t think it’s at any cost that you continue on with the same kinds of energy like coal and fossil fuels,” she said. “ I actually had the opportunity to live in China and see some of the impacts on the environment.”
She supports President Obama’s policy on transgender bathrooms. He said he would be open-minded to solutions that aren’t going to cost businesses money and he said he would want to be certain his young daughter feels comfortable with the people who are in the bathroom with her.