LEWISBURG — An attentive and engaged audience of more than 60 people attended Tuesday night's League of Women Voters of the Lewisburg Area's candidates night, featuring two of the three people running to fill the open Pennsylvania House seat representing the 85th District.
The special election to fill that seat is next Tuesday, Aug. 20.
Democrat Dr. Jenn Rager-Kay faced off against Clair Moyer, a registered Republican running a write-in campaign, discussing a wide range of subjects including guns, red flag laws, the opioid crisis, abortion, access to broadband and the minimum wage.
The Republican candidate, David Rowe, was not at the event.
The biggest disagreements between Rager-Kay and Moyer were on the subjects of abortion and guns.
Moyer said he is against abortions, pro life, except in very specific instances. Rager-Kay said the idea of abortion "is something that needs to be decided between a woman, her partner, and their medical provider. It is not something the state government should regulate. I think there is room for reform, but this is a decision between a woman, her partner and their God."
"Talking about gun control is a difficult question and a double-edged sword," Moyer, who is a gun owner, said. "I would never do anything to abolish the Second Amendment. I do not want to take guns away from individuals. It is in the Constitution as a safeguard against a tyrannical government, something that could happen. I do not support having an AR-15, There is no reason to have one."
Rager-Kay, also a gun owner, said one law she would target is "being able to sell a long-barrel gun in Pennsylvania without any kind of a background check. You can go to a flea market tomorrow, buy a long-barrel gun without any questions." She also favors red flag laws — which are meant to keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who the court determines are at a high risk of causing harm — a person with a history of domestic violence, for instance.
Asked about solutions to the opioid crisis, Moyer said "we need to reach out to churches or other sources to help people get help.
Rager-Kay said it is "absolutely disgusting when someone lays the blame of addiction on a family. Addiction is a disease and should be treated as such. Blaming a family or continuing to point a finger is not a solution to the problem. We need funding for programs to deal with this disease."
About broadband, both candidates agreed on the need for funding to support broadband in this area.
"I think that lack of broadband is detrimental to this area," Rager-Kay said. "The fact of the matter is if we talk about economic development of this area, broadband is a must. No way a large business would want to come here if we didn't have access to high-speed internet."
Moyer agrees and said that he would support a funding initiative to bring broadband access to the area.
Rager-Kay and Moyer agreed on the issue of gerrymandering.
"To draw districts to favor one party or another, I'm against," Moyer said. "If we really want to bring the two parties together to serve the people and to serve this country we have to stop that kind of nonsense." Rager-Kay said even the idea of gerrymandering was "a shock to me when I found out how it was done. Looking at the maps of Pennsylvania districts, some of the lines drawn are absolutely ridiculous."
Rager-Kay and Moyer said they were in favor of a shift to sustainable renewable energy resources. "And I say that as a coal miner's daughter," she said.
They also agreed that minimum wage should be raised, but incrementally.