RINDGE — Republican candidates Jim Lawrence, Gary Lambert and Marilinda Garcia, who are running to win the 2nd District seat away from Congresswoman Annie Kuster, hashed out the issues at the Monadnock Debates 2014 at Franklin Pierce University Tuesday night.
Lambert and Garcia clashed on issues such as immigration and corporate tax, while Lawrence took the opportunity to say he was running to give people an alternative to petty politics.
Retired Marine Lambert of Nashua said as a small business owner, he believes the tax code should be simpler and fairer for businesses.
“It’s out of hand. It’s out of control,” he said of the tax code.
Garcia took that opportunity to say Lambert had sent out campaign fliers bashing her position on closing corporate loopholes.
Garcia said closing loopholes would help small- and medium-sized businesses, because only large corporations have the resources to fully take advantage of the current tax code.
“When you close a loop hole, guess what taxes goes up,” Lambert said.
Garcia countered saying she supports closing the loopholes and reducing tax rates.
Lawrence got applause from the audience when he said this is exactly why he was running, the bickering between the other candidates over campaign ads and contributions.
Lawrence got another round of applause when he said he advocates the country adopting Australia’s policy on immigration, which is if someone enters the country illegally, they are never allowed to gain citizenship.
“We need to adopt that policy right now,” he said. “If you come here illegally, you will never get to stay.”
All candidates agreed the border should be secured.
Lambert attacked Garcia, though, on immigration saying that she advocated amnesty.
Garcia said she doesn’t advocate amnesty, but said Republicans need to join in the conversation, because there has to be a solution somewhere between amnesty and deportation for the more than 12 million illegal immigrants living in the country.
“Liberals have owned this issue for too long,” Garcia said.
And for several reasons, illegal immigrants need to be pulled from the shadows, she said.
“If they are participating in the economy, they should be paying taxes,” Garcia said.
All of the candidates said they would repeal Obamacare and that they support Second Amendment rights.
When asked about the Northern Pass, both Lambert and Lawrence said they oppose it.
Garcia said she would support it, if the wires could be buried.
When asked about defense spending, Lambert said his primary goal would be taking care of the troops.
“We’ve got troops on food stamps. There’s the budget, there’s the priority, getting the troops off food stamps,” Lambert said.
The candidates said they supported the recent air strikes of Iraq. Lambert said he strongly opposes sending troops into Iraq, though, “There cannot be any boots on the ground in Iraq period,” Lambert said. “There were boots on the ground I was there.”