WILKES-BARRE — U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright is seeking his fourth term in Congress and he is facing a strong challenge from Republican John Chrin of Monroe County.
The candidates were asked to offer their comments on several issues facing voters in the 8th Congressional District. The district includes most of Luzerne County, including the cities of Wilkes-Barre, Nanticoke, Pittston and Hazleton. It also covers all of Lackawanna, Wayne and Pike counties, plus part of Monroe County.
• Social Security/Medicare — “The benefits that our seniors have earned through years of hard work are under attack. We need strong, definitive leadership to strengthen these programs and to ensure that they are there for future generations.
• Jobs — “The federal government needs to target their investment in jobs to bring the kind of family-sustaining work that used to exist in Northeastern Pennsylvania.”
• Cost of prescription drugs — “Right now, seniors and people who rely on medication are forced to cut pills or sacrifice meals to survive. It shouldn’t be that way. Currently, Medicare is prohibited by law from negotiating with drug companies. I will fight to change that.”
• Health care — “We need to expand health care to cover as many people as possible, and we need to ensure that coverage for people with pre-existing conditions is protected.”
“Rep. Cartwright is attempting to portray himself as a moderate to confuse the voters from his liberal voting record in Washington. He is the whip of the House Progressive Caucus with a long history and voting record of supporting sanctuary cities. I am the only one in this race who has consistently held a position in opposition to sanctuary cities and amnesty for illegal aliens.”
What is your plan to bring good-paying, family-sustainable jobs to the region?
Cartwright: “The federal government needs to invest in family-sustaining jobs. If the Democrats take control of the House, it’s my position that we should make an infrastructure renewal package our top priority to create good jobs. This package should go through our normal appropriations process to ensure accountability so that taxpayer funds aren’t wasted.
“As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I am fighting to ensure that Northeastern Pennsylvania receives its fair share of the taxpayer money we pay to Washington. We can create both blue-collar and white-collar jobs if we invest intelligently, but if we aren’t getting back what we pay in, we will not realize the potential our area has.”
Chrin: “I envision developing our region into a center for research on battery storage of electricity, a focus that I think could transform the region’s economy. A focus on battery storage and developing an electrical grid resistant to cyber threats and terrorism could attract new manufacturing.
“If we solidify that (electricity distribution grid) system, you now have a much different bargaining chip when you talk and try to solicit and get companies … .”
What will you do to work across the aisle to produce meaningful legislation that benefits all Pennsylvanians?
Cartwright: “Since entering Congress in 2013, I have constantly worked across the aisle to get things done. GovTrack.us rates me as the Democrat most effective at creating bipartisan legislation. Working across the aisle is how I was able to pass meaningful bills to save billions of dollars on software purchases and to protect older veterans from scams.”
Chrin: “I have had a career of building successful businesses across the country. I have negotiated tough business deals. I know that we must include Democrats, Independents, and Republicans at the table. I am a goal-driven individual who wants to see results. What we have going on currently in Washington isn’t working. I will work to continue the strong economic gains we are currently seeing and advocate for making the middle class tax cuts permanent so hardworking Pennsylvanians can keep more of their hard-earned money.”
What is your stance on Social Security and Medicare?
Cartwright: “Social Security and Medicare are two of the greatest poverty reduction measures our government has ever undertaken, and they need to be defended at all costs. I will oppose any effort to reduce the benefits these programs have promised, including cost-of-living adjustments, because the promise of Social Security is that it will provide beneficiaries with enough to cover their bills.”
Chrin: “I will not cut Social Security and Medicare promised to our seniors and all individuals who have paid into the system. I will protect and preserve these programs. I will work to ensure the long term solvency of both so they are available for future generations.”
Why should voters select you to represent them?
Cartwright: “I have lived and worked in Northeastern Pennsylvania my whole adult life. Because of this, I know the people here. Since entering Congress in 2013, I have put their needs over all other considerations when I cast votes. I truly enjoy the work I do, and I work hard to be the kind of open and accountable legislator that the people here deserve.”
Chrin: “If you want higher taxes, more regulations which hurt businesses and workers, and are in favor of sanctuary cities, then you should vote for my opponent, Matt Cartwright. If you agree like I do that lower taxes, more jobs, less job-killing regulations, along with affordable health care are important, and are against sanctuary cities, then I am your candidate.”
By Bill O'Boyle
Nov 3, 2018