Around 50 people came out to hear what the men running in the special election for the 23rd Congressional District had to say at the Chautauqua County League of Women Voters‘ “Meet The Candidates” event Thursday night.
Democrat Max Della Pia and Republican Joe Sempolinski responded to a broad variety of questions submitted by the audience, with inflation being the first topic mentioned.
Sempolinski cited inflation being the most serious issue facing the district because it affects those with limited means the most, “People who are living paycheck to paycheck. People who are on fixed income. That’s the most important issue. And the way we deal with it is to stop the loose spending in Washington D.C. The so-called Inflation Reduction Act was just signed into law. It’ll do nothing of the sort. I would have been against that. My opponent would have been for it. I think it’s a clear distinction on the most important issue today.”
Della Pia, in support of the Inflation Reduction Act, said he believes it will reduce the United State’s dependence on foreign oil,reduce the country’s debt, and increase steps toward environmental protection.
Candidates were also asked if they’d support an assault weapons ban. Della Pia said what is considered an assault weapon needs to be defined given that virtually every deer rifle is semi-automatic. He said there are things that can be done, “Number one, universal background checks without exceptions for gun shows or exchanges between family members or friends; including a background check that includes if someone is on the no-fly list, if they’re domestic abusers, if they have mental issues. Number two, I think we need to have a national ban on large magazines, detachable magazines.”
Sempolinski said he would not support an assault weapons ban and said underlying causes for why mass shooting events happen need to be dealt with including mental health issues.
Early voting is currently underway for the special election with Tuesday, August 23 being the final special election and primary day for the 23rd Congressional District.
The full audio from the “Meet The Candidates” event is available here: