Candidates debate the issues at town hall forum

Published 10:16 pm Thursday, October 16, 2008

SMITHFIELD—Congressional candidates sparred over the economy, health care, education and national defense at a town hall meeting Tuesday night, while the two people running for Isle of Wight Commonwealth Attorney introduced themselves to voters.

Wayne Farmer, an attorney from Isle of Wight and a graduate of James Madison University and William and Mary Law School, spoke about his 12 years of experience as an attorney in the area and emphasized his “deep commitment to the Isle of Wight community.”

His opponent, Jennifer Stanton, is a graduate of Duke University and New England School of Law. She spoke of her 20 years of “unmatched experience” and also described her “toughness and determination” in handling cases.

The “Meet the Candidates” town hall forum was sponsored by the Isle of Wight Citizens Association and held at the Smithfield Center. All of the candidates took questions from audience members at the town hall meeting.

The two candidates were first asked about the death penalty.

“The death penalty must be exercised according to the law and that the most important goal is that justice be done,” Farmer said.

Stanton responded, “it should be used in accordance to the law.”

Both candidates agreed that communication at the Commonweath Attorney’s office needs to be strengthened.

“I will work to improve communications between the Commonwealth Attorney’s office and the Police Department,” Farmer said. “I would also utilize technology to improve case management.”

Stanton said, “I would strengthen communication between the local, state and federal levels of government.”

The two candidates vying for the 4th Congressional District — Randy Forbes (R) and challenger Andrea Miller (D) — spoke to citizens about a variety of issues ranging from the economy to health care.

Forbes, who is seeking a fourth term, said “the present economic crisis must be looked at from two perspectives. First, our national banking system must be strengthened. Two, our focus must also be on our local economy and making it stronger.”

On the question of defense: Forbes said, “we must maintain a strong national defense.”

Miller, is a graduate from Northwestern University, an educator and a mother of three. On the economy, said Miller, “the big issues are our financial system and jobs. We must work to strengthen our financial markets and add more jobs to increase revenues.”

Miller said she also believes that more emphasis should be placed on “green technology and more research into the use of alternative fuels.”

In response to the question of defense, Miller said, “our focus should be on a peace-time economy, not a war-time economy.”

Both candidates said they would not vote to end the death penalty.