SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/AP) – The second of three senate debates for the Massachusetts Special Election was held in Springfield Tuesday night. It was broadcast from the WGBY studios and shown on several outlets including ABC40.
Republican Gabriel Gomez and Democrat Edward Markey clashed right from the beginning quickly trying to distance themselves from each other.
“After 37 years, I think it’s time for change,” said Gabriel Gomez.
“I know that there are unique issues to western Massachusetts, as a result if I am elected, I am going to open an office,” said Ed Markey.
During the hour long debate they disagreed on everything from tax policy and the minimum wage to the National Security Agency’s collection of billions of Americans’ phone and Internet records.
Gomez called Edward Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who claimed responsibility for revealing the surveillance programs, a traitor if any of the leaked information ends up harming anyone.
Markey said Snowden should accept responsibility for what he revealed, but also said citizens shouldn’t have to sacrifice all their privacy protections.
The issue of jobs in western Massachusetts was also addressed. Markey says there should be more investing into the college system, Union Station and work should be done to make the area a manufacturing hub. Gomez says he’d support repealing the medical device tax as a way to encourage those businesses to open up in the region.
The two also stressed their differences on gun control.
“He supports the NRA position, opposing a ban on assault weapons. I support a ban on assault weapons,” said Markey.
Both candidates said they support a $10 federal minimum wage. Gomez said the goal should be to help Americans aim even higher.
“I think it’s an absolute insult to think, that it’s a dream to go the minimum wage of $10, sir,” said Gomez.
“I did not say it was the American dream. I said it was the minimum out of decency,” said Markey.
On taxes, Markey said the nation should end tax breaks for oil companies. Gomez said he’s for closing corporate and personal tax loopholes.
The election is June 25.