1st Congressional District candidates Eddie Edwards and Chris Pappas met on Wednesday morning at a debate hosted by the Manchester Chamber of Commerce debate.
Democrat Chris Pappas said the greatest issue facing New Hampshire businesses is a workforce shortage, and that the best way to tackle it is to cut the cost of higher education:
"I think there's really no substitute for making the investments in higher education and job training that can create a better stronger workforce here," he said.
Republican Eddie Edwards said the biggest challenge for businesses was the cost of health insurance. He warned against expanding workforce training programs and making higher education free.
"The notion that you can reduce costs by making it free does not advance the issue," he said. "'Free' has a cost to it."
The two candidates agreed on a few things - including the need to lower the deficit, and the importance of improving New Hampshire's roads and highways.
Their most tense moment came over the issue of who could work best across party lines.
Edwards said Pappas was part of the resistance movement against Trump. He referenced a photo of Pappas in a t-shirt with the word "resist" across the chest.
Pappas responded: "Well I think the photo you're referring to is a rainbow shirt I wore at a gay pride parade in Portsmouth."
"Did it have 'resistance' on it?" Edwards asked.
Pappas continued, "I'm proud of who I am, and I'm proud to stand up against hate and bigotry and intolerance."
Portsmouth Pride proved once again that rain always subsides to make way for rainbows! Thanks to @OutrightPride for letting me share my story & thank you to @Maggie_Hassan for joining me to march! #nhpolitics #NH01 pic.twitter.com/5kwOaYMmeM
— Chris Pappas (@ChrisPappasNH) June 24, 2018
Edwards said the context of gay pride didn't matter - but the word 'resist' did:
"You're resisting the will of the people of this state and the will of the people of this country," Edwards said. "CD1 voted for this president. You're running around with a resist shirt on; if you want to make this something that it's not, you haven't heard anyone talk about gay pride - no one, but you."
"Well, that's where I was standing," Pappas said, "And that's what it meant to me."
The candidates will debate again on WMUR-TV on Monday.