tv U.S. Senatorial Debate FOX February 25, 2016 11:00pm-11:29pm EST
>> coming up here on good evening and thank you for joining us i am david crabtree. north carolina has a senate seat up for grabs this fall to get it is currently head -- held by richard burr. he faces three challengers in the march primary and we will hear from the four democrats that want a chance to run for the seat. we will hear from immigration health care the economy mental health social security and the supreme court. here's a look at the four democrats running for the primary on march 15.
president and ceo of the group a staffing firm operating in the triad and the triangle. he is a graduate of unc greensboro and currently lives in durham. this is his first run for elected office. ernest reeves is a retired us officer. after his retirement from the pentagon reeves worked in the private sector and returned to greenville to start his own members. reeves have its -- has never held elected office. chris rey is serving as for -- third term as mayor of spring lake in cumberland county. is also the executive director of cumberland healthnet a nonprofit group formulating healthcare for noninsured people. he is an honor -- army veteran and a major in the national guard. deborah ross spent 10 years representing wake county in the state house of representatives. she spent the past two years as general counsel for no triangle.
director for the american civil liberties union and taught law at duke university. ross currently lives in raleigh. >> the candidates are seated in alphabetical order and we want to get to as many topics as we can set each candidate will have one minute to respond to the question. i reserve the right to quickly follow up should there be a need for clarity. we want this to be more of a conversation and rhetoric. at the end of the evening each candidate will be given 45 seconds for a closing statement. -- before this newscast began we drew numbers to see who would receive the first question and have the first answer and that is mr. reeves to get the question for each of you and we will begin with mr. reeves. it is a two-part question on immigration. you favor a path to citizenship for those who are without proper documentation and would you favor allowing syrian refugees into this country and
>> i do not favor a pathway to citizenship but i do favor a pathway to stay. i would open up the united states to syrian refugees as long as they could be verified by the fbi and all agencies in the united states. if they cannot be verified and i don't think they should be states. >> was -- mr. ray. >> there should be a pathway to citizenship your to america. it's critical that we take care of those individuals who are interpreting to our economy and doing things the right way. i would also -- right now we have individuals who are coming into our nation that are from syria and we have been letting folks from syria and for quite a while. what i want the american people to know is that we do have one of the most stringent laws in place on how to bring
working with the fbi, cia, all of our national security organizations to get we have a process in place that is one of the best in the nation. i would continue that process. >> ms. ross. >> i would face -- favor the same bipartisan bill that passed the u.s. senate two years ago, that offered a pathway to citizenship for people who had certain basque -- background checks, pay their taxes, and followed strict guidelines. that bill would've also secured our borders and reunify families. it was supported by the north carolina farm bureau but richard burden -- richard burr voted against it. i would have voted for it. strict guidelines for which refugees can come into this country. we should adhere to those guidelines and make sure that we know who is coming in, but
from should it be relevant to that. should all follow the same guidelines. >> mr. griffin. >> i do not favor the tho citizenship but what i am putting forward is a plan that involves and engages all the people that are here on an undocumented basis, brings them into a comprehensive work permit program, so that they are an active part of our society. from an economic and legal standpoint that way they are able to make use of the social services we have available because they are paying into them so they get an adequate return. i do not believe there should be a word -- a reward for citizenship as part of that because we already have a position and process in place for people to achieve citizenship. i believe they should still have to follow that. in regards to refugees from syria or anywhere else, we have to lead the world in honoring every individual. we are the light of the world.
we need to bring them in background screening process that we need to continue to review to make sure that we are there. >> the next question is regarding healthcare. senator burr wants to repeal the affordable care act in the playset -- and replace it with an active favors. many people say the existing plan is problematic and needs at least some tweaking. what would your voice in the senate the regarding what many of -- referred to as obamacare. we begin with mr. rey. >> i get to work with individuals that do not have with cumberland healthnet we work with individuals that cannot pay for private insurance. at the same time they do not qualify for medicaid to because we have spoken -- chosen not to
art all -- state we have almost -- with a lot of individuals that still fall through the cracks. is important that we know that there's over 40 million people in our nation that did not have access to health care, and unless our republican counterparts but something forward that are than what we have it is important that we work together, both parties, to be able to fix the current aca that is in place. >> ms. ross. >> before we had the affordable care act people could be denied health coverage for pre- existing conditions. women paid more than men for healthcare. parents could not keep their children on their health insurance up until the age of 26. all of these things are good things for the affordable care act. unfortunately the north carolina legislature has not expanded medicaid. that has made it not work as well as it could in north carolina.
rural hospitals and we have lost an opportunity to create jobs. i would work to make more incentives for opting into medicaid because i think it is better for all of our people. repeal the medical device tax and not penalize insurers to provide as excellent health care to their workers. >> mr. griffin. >> universal healthcare is an absolute necessity for us in this day and age. we have to take care of our population and in order to do that we need to take care of three areas. the first is the expansion of the program to cover the gap. the fact that north carolina has yet to do that is unconscionable. the federal government would pick up 97% of the expenses along these lines. for the affordable care act portion the middle ground works very well for the individual. i signed up through myself i am very happy with the plan. as a small business owner i can
and confusing and they are not inviting or engaging for employers. we need to clean them up and streamline them so that more employers can easily adopt them. we also have to remember those people that have retired early that are not necessarily eligible for medicare yet are still on a fixed income. what i want to do is allow them to buy into medicare early so that they can continue to healthcare. >> mr. reeves. >> i would repeal the cadillac tax in addition to try to work in a bipartisan basis to work out the employer mandates which is a problem. i would do everything i could to work on bipartisan support and also make sure that the subsidies that we are able to sustain it. also we would work to try to bring down the cost of medications. as already mentioned i do everything i can to try to
nation particularly right here in north carolina and south carolina and states that so badly needed. no matter where or when it happens when we in this country experience a mass shooting there seem to be too delighted cries that come from the country. -- two divided cries that come from the country. the question here i want to be clear is not about second amendment rights. the question is about keeping firearms from people with mental health issues. what might you propose? mr. ross. -- ms. ross. >> i worked in the legislature on mental health issues extensively. we do not have enough mental health services in our communities for all of our people. people with serious mental illness should not be permitted
we need to tighten up our background checks on that. that is not going to solve the whole problem. we have to take the mental health crisis seriously. it affects people in urban areas, rural areas, children, the elderly, and we have not sufficiently invested resources and personal care for people who have mental illness. we need to have supportive housing and we need to put people in a situation where they would not think about doing something violent. >> mr. griffin. >> in tackling the mental health issue you have to look at a wide range of things that are involved in that. first off, we have to make sure there is continuing and growing access for our veterans to have mental healthcare. right now the only get 30 minutes every 30 days as an opportunity to work with a counselor or therapist.
drastically. we also have to strengthen the healthcare coverage overall to make sure that there are no limits on visits for people that are under healthcare and that there is adequate funding for both inpatient and outpatient care so that we can provide consistent assistance. >> in regard to those people, people who are suffering from mental illness being able to own a firearm. >> it is not something i am in favor of alcohol. >> mr. reeves. >> folks that have mental health problem once they enroll in a mental health program we should have a system in which -- we need one now. we need to come together with our communities and politicians to create a law that allows those individuals and we have to enter into a program and at the same time report into a database so that those individuals are not able to own a weapon until they get the help that they need.
bipartisan support to do but as already mentioned there are a lot of people that are suffering and we don't know that they need help because we don't have enough facilities available for them to be enrolled in. i would ensure that we try to do that. >> mr. rey. >> there is a mental health crisis in our nation. i, of course, would not favor individuals with mental health having access to guns. what i would want to do is be a champion for mental health in washington dc. i think it is critical that there be a new voice that would look for the funding and the resources at the federal level and to be able to work with our individuals with state leaders to make sure that they are addressing the issues. in the healthcare industry that are working now, we have a lot of
get access or can't get access to mental health programs in the local community. what you are talking about is really a system that is broken from the local to the federal level. it is important that we start identifying the resources necessary to make it happen. >> richard burr has been in the senate almost 12 years. he was in the house of representatives for several terms prior. what has he done or voted for that you agree with? mr. griffin. >> i grew up in winston-salem so i've had richard burr as a representative for a long time. it is very hard to find things that he's actually worked on that i am happy about, although he has recently worked to strengthen social security of the united states. he pushed up through to be included in the overall budget bill we passed recently but then he also voted against the budget bill. is a little bit disingenuous.
strengthening the intellectual property -- the intellectual and electronic exposure of the united states and that we have proper protection their. >> you are saying and two decades there is nothing he has done that you agree with. >> there is nothing that he has led the fight on. he signed on to a couple of things that he has failed to take the lead on anything. >> mr. reeves? >> mr. burr is bad for america and north carolina and minorities. he is the 90% republican stamp. he is a rubberstamp. he votes with his party all the time. mr. burr has been against people fomen, he vote down an opportunity to help students and college, he voted against medicare and social security and the things that really got me mad about mr. burr is the
the red of lynch as a minority to graduate from heart -- harvard that mr. castro as well. both of those were very high educated minorities and good for the country so i don't agree >> do you think that you would not vote with your party 90% of the time? >> i would vote for the people. i'm a democrat but i also want to vote what is good for the middle class and the people of north carolina. and women deserve equal pay and we deserve -- people are hurting here. >> mr. rey. >> when i think about mr. burr, the work that he has done, when you have served as long as you have served in the united states congress there is a plethora of things that have been positive but many that have been negative. one of the things that he did step up to the plate a couple of months ago was he voted for a bill that allowed veteran
additional pay for families that are relocating to other posts and being able to make sure that they keep the pay in the current duty station until they get to the next duty station. that was important and great. at the same time he also voted for sequestration. it impacted my community. spring lake which is right next to fort bragg. even though there are workers helping veterans there's an even longer record of him doing things to hurt veterans. >> ms. ross. >> he voted for secretary fox's transfer -- prep -- transportation institute -- infrastructure bill which is helping to bring some money back to north carolina for transportation infrastructure. after that i am hard-pressed. >> even on issues regarding veterans? >> i would agree with the one
but he has opposed bills that would provide veterans with relocation assistance, assistance with finding new jobs, and assistance with education when they come back because the thought it was too expensive for people who served our country. and that is just wrong. let's talk about the economy. normally we talk about job creation, incentives, education. so i would like to know specifically if you remember the net -- united states senate what you might propose, something he believed could get through the senate and the president would sign that would substantially grow the economy. we begin with you mr. reeves. >> i would do everything i can to increase the minimum wage to $10.25 an hour. i think it would help. it's been shown that when the minimum wage goes up jobs are created and people feel good about themselves, they can do
kids to school and we would -- we really needed because we are one of the top poverty-stricken states. >> mr. rey. >> i would also try to work with my republican colleagues to raise the minimum wage. i think as a us senator what you want to be able to do is also recognize here in north carolina there are two different types of economies. there's an urban economy and a rule -- world economy and we don't have a strategy for the rural part of the state. as a very small town outside of fort bragg we are a rural community so understanding the rural strategy is one of the things i would like to step up to the plate to be able to bring here to north carolina to help our economy. we have a lot of folks in the rural part of the state that >> ms. ross. >> one of the things i have experience working on both as a lawyer and in the legislature is infrastructure.
sewer systems, transit, bridges and roads. this country has a problem with its infrastructure. it is crumbling. the works that were done 50 years ago and even longer ago put people to work. these are jobs that you cannot outsource to other countries. when we build our infrastructure not only do we put people to work with buy american products put them we have the infrastructure we need to attract and retain really good businesses. those projects can happen in rural areas and urban areas. i would make that a priority. >> mr. griffin. >> when you look at the economy it is all about creating jobs. for the last 23 years that is what i have done on a day-to- day basis. i have put people to work in north carolina. we were a member of the durham living wage project pushing for a higher minimum wage for my
creating an outplacement process for our military veterans so that as they are rotating at a service they are paired with kent -- companies and can use their g.i. dollars to have funded internship pogroms. it creates economic development in the areas around our military bases and it allows for people to become integrated back into society. this next question i will ask you to answer it in 30 seconds so we can get it in before closing statements. we are reminded with the death of justice scalia there are several members of the supreme court who are elderly, a six- year senate term would not be surprised if several nominees may come before you. that you would have to weigh in on their confirmation votes. should that happen, what if anything specifically with disqualifying a candidate for the supreme court in your opinion and not get a vote.
>> if somebody said that they would not give people who came before them an equal opportunity to make their case. if somebody took a position before hand and said i want to change the law rather than apply the law. >> mr. griffin. >> to me the best nominee is one that will honor the individuals that eventually are affected and understand how their rulings boiled down to the individual level. anyone who was blind to that notions or attempts to legislate from the bench is somebody that i would preclude from consideration. >> mr. reeves. >> i would approve someone that was fair. someone that was not there -- it's i would look at the way that they are willing and it seemed like they were fair to all people and all classes of people than they would not get
>> an individual who has a record of trying to make the law and interpret the law. we have a supreme court justice who understands that their role is to interpret the law. anyone who has demonstrated that they don't have those types of qualities are that they have demonstrated that they are not trying to make it -- make sure that they are inserting the law that covers all individuals then i would not want them to be a part. time now for closing statements. we will go in reverse alphabetical order. each candidate has 45 seconds we begin with you ms. ross. >> thank you, david and to the viewers. this has been a great opportunity. my parents and some great public school teachers raise to me to believe that public service can actually make people's lives better. and i believe that to this day. i have dedicated my legal and by legislative career to doing things that make people's lives
wage here in north carolina, expanding healthcare, here in north carolina, making college more affordable, also here in north carolina. and fighting for equal pay for equal work for women. this will be my priorities in washington dc. we don't need a senator who does not want to do their job. get things done for the state. >> i have to stop you there. mr. griffin. >> for me to focus has to be on clarity of purpose. that is what i bring to this race and that's what i bring to a challenge against senator richard burr. i have a website that is full of details and ideas and communication and conversation that i have had with the voters. things that have been absent in my challengers here is that interaction with the public when ms. ross has 240's unanswered comments on her facebook page she is not represented the people. she's not working with the
you have to be there and available and that's the difference in my approach. >> mr. reeves. >> i'm running for the united states senate to affect real across the state. i grew up in the family with my mother and father and my dad did not have any education. he worked hard and he ended up working for a united states senator for many years. i will make one promise to you i will not let you down. i served 20 years in the military and retired as an officer in the pentagon and i know what it's like to serve soldiers and can -- civilians. i worked very hard drama career to be fair. i am asking for your vote please vote ernest reeves for the united states senator.>> mr. rey. >> democratic voters in this primary need an individual who has economic policy experience. 70 who works at the local level, federal level, and state level.
the democratic voters in this primary want an individual with policy experience. an individual who has had an opportunity to work with vemes and the challenges of our nation. i'm a member of the national truman security project was theirs -- which is an organization that focuses on national security from a progressive standpoint. it's important that we have an individual who will win and make sure that the democratic ticket wins in november. am asking you to go to chris rey.com and learn more about us and let us have a winner on november 8. >> this ross i will give you a chance to respond -- that was a personal political comment made it was the first of the evening but you have 15 seconds to respond. >> i have crisscrossed the state talking to voters in their hometowns but also on the phone call thousands of people who are very excited about this campaign.
deborah ross.com please vote for me on march 15. very quickly. so many people emailed me about this question regarding social security while you would do to make sure it is maintained and to make sure it is strong. have less than a minute left but i have to think that each of you believe that social security is not going anywhere. can i get a yes or no to that? >> social security has to be maintained and we have to eliminate the earnings gap. >> we have to reduce the gap and we have to strengthen it. >> social security is going nowhere as long as i am a senator. >> we have to because -- protect and store up our social security. are seniors rely on it and it is our obligation. think the candidates for being here and whenever the primary is march 15. early voting is march 3-12.
elections for locations and (knocking) dr. rosen? ah, ms. flynn. please come in. okay. thank you. i'm a little nervous. i've never done the therapy thing before. well, lucky for us, i have. (both laugh) please, take a seat. is this a test? if i sit on the left side, do i hate my mother, and the right side i'm ocd? (laughs) it's more a question of comfort. okay. well, the "i hate my mother" chair looks pretty comfortable. oh... (clears throat) you know what? actually, it's not. i'm just gonna... i don't have ocd, just for the record. okay. (exhales) just sit there. you know what, i want to... (exhales) right off the bat, i just want to say that i don't really need to be here. my husband was kind of, you know, into the whole "you should try therapy," and my insurance is running out and you're on my plan, and, you know, i was just getting my-my teeth cleaned right around the... you know, the... if you kind of go left, and-and i thought,