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1st District Congressional Candidates Square Off

Abby Goldstein

New Hampshire’s first district candidates for Congress battled Monday in a debate moderated by NHPR’s Laura Knoy. The topics for discussion stayed within the realm of economic policy and job creation and energy policy was among the stickier points.

Much of the debate between Congressman Frank Guinta and former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter was an argument of who should and should not receive federal tax dollars. This was highlighted when the candidates were asked how they would address the rising cost of energy.

“The government cannot be picking and chosing who gets a subsidy and who doesn’t.”

Guinta says the government shouldn’t pick winners and losers and the free market, he says, should determine what alternative energy options are available.

Shea-Porter accused Guinta of being in the pocket of big oil companies.

“If he says you shouldn’t be picking winners and losers then I would like to know why he’s not continuing subsidies and tax credits for alternative, renewable energy and yet votes to increase them and continue them for oil companies and others.”

Guinta then challenged Shea-Porter to cite specific legislation.

Shea-Porter: “…you have not been helpful to the renewable energy— Guinta: “What subsidies are you talking about? What subsidies are you talking about? That’s just false, that’s just false…”

Shea-Porter referred to the House Republican budgets.

Knoy: “Mr. Guinta, I’m so sorry, for the interest of time can you address does the House Republican budget include oil and gas subsidies because that’s the charge that Ms. Shea-Porter is making.” Guinta: “It does not.”

The House budgets for fiscal years 2011 and 2012 maintained existing tax deductions and so-called loopholes for oil and gas companies totaling in about four billion dollars annually. Both budgets passed the House and Congressman Guinta voted for both.

Another exchange between the candidates addressed the so-called Fiscal Cliff and Sequestration: the automatic and drastic spending cuts that would, in part, gut the defense budget if Congress doesn’t pass an alternative deficit reduction plan.

Shea-Porter was quick to blame Guinta and other Tea Party Republicans for refusing to raise the debt ceiling, which, she says, pushed Congress into passing Sequestration.

“Certainly Mr. Guinta has put the shipyard and the defense industry at risk; many, many thousands of jobs.”

Guinta sought to distance himself from his vote for Sequestration.

“Sequester has turned out to be a terrible idea. I think most people would agree with that.”

But, he says, the House had already passed a few bills that are meant to prevent those cuts and put the ball in the Senate’s court.

Near the end of the debate, the candidates were challenged to describe their economic philosophy in 140 characters; the length of a tweet.

“Pro-growth economic principles. Predictability for job creators and entrepreneurs and reducing federal government and oversight into our personal and business lives.”

Over the limit by 25 characters.

“Pro-growth economic principles. Working hard to support industry, both small business and large.”

44 characters in change.

Before becoming a reporter for NHPR, Ryan devoted many months interning with The Exchange team, helping to produce their daily talk show. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire in Manchester with a major in Politics and Society and a minor in Communication Arts. While in school, he also interned for a DC-based think tank. His interests include science fiction and international relations. Ryan is a life-long Manchester resident.

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