There was little disagreement between the four Republican primary candidates for the Fifth Congressional District seat in a debate Thursday in Newtown.
State Sen. Andrew Roraback, Lisa Wilson-Foley, Mark Greenberg and Justin Bernier said they all want to repeal Obamacare, the Republican term for the health care reform act. All wanted to cut government spending, and none wanted to pass stricter gun laws, even following the recent mass murder in Colorado.
The only hints of dissent came from Roraback, who told the 300 or so Republicans at the Edmund Town Hall that he would refuse to sign conservative activist Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge and he would not vote for any anti-abortion law that was unconstitutional.
Roraback explained that he might vote to repeal tax loopholes that could result in tax increases, and he would rather anger people by refusing to sign the pledge than by breaking his word.
But he also endured criticism from the other candidates, who attacked him for supporting Connecticut’s membership in a multi-state coalition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by promoting energy efficiency through cap and trade.
The debate was hosted by the Newtown Republican Town Committee and sponsored by local businessman Pat Caruso, owner of Associated Refuse.
Prior to the debate, supporters for each candidate clustered in front of the old town hall on Main Street for an impromptu campaign rally for passing motorists.
Greenberg told the audience that this is the most important election that he could remember, and it was important to elect a Republican to represent northwestern Connecticut in order to keep the U.S. strong and protect freedom and liberty.
Bernier said the real question Republicans must ask of their next congressman, is whether they will have the conservative values and principles needed to return America to prosperity.
Roraback said he is running because he doesn’t want Democrat Chris Donovan, who appears to be the front runner in his party’s primary, to be his next congressman. He said he would use the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives to benefit the residents of the district and the state.
Wilson-Foley said she built a number of businesses through hard work and personal risk, and would apply the same those qualities to her service in Congress. She said she knows the country has problems, but she believes they can be fixed.
The state’s Republican and Democratic primaries will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 14.