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2016 Senate Forum: Ayotte, Hassan Face Off On The Issues

In the race for the U.S. Senate seat, Republican incumbent Senator Kelly Ayotte and her Democratic challenger, Governor Maggie Hassan, weigh in on a host of issues around business and the economy, as well as topics of importance to New Hampshire voters. The Exchange's Laura Knoy, NHPR Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers, and NHBR Editor Jeff Feingold  pose questions at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College.

NHPR forum partners are the New Hampshire Business Review and New Hampshire Business and Industry Association.

Listen to the forum:


Watch video of the forum via Facebook Live - includes "overtime" questions on social media and more.

Highlights from the discussion:

On Healthcare:

Question: What is one "fix" that Governor Hassan would make to the Affordable Care Act if she is elected?

Hassan: "We have to repeal the medical device tax, we have to repeal the Cadillac tax. We have to work to get generic drugs to market ore quickly and we have to focus on improving quality over quantity in our healthcare system."

Question: What would Senator Ayotte replace Affordable Care Act with, if elected?

Ayotte stressed the importance of competition across state lines, expansion of health savings and flexible spending accounts, and more transparency. She mentioned that covering pre-existing conditions is a provision she would keep. 

On the expansion of the federal "overtime rule," which will go into effect at the end of the year:

On Guns:

Question: Would Governor Hassan repeal the federal law that grants gun manufacturers protections against liability suits?

Question: Does Senator Ayotte agree with fellow Republican Frank Guinta's bill to allow cross-border sales of hand guns?

Ayotte: "I would want to look at what are the specifics of the bill, but if our companies can sell to other people, they should be able to. Obviously, that should be done within the parameters of the law."

On the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Dodd Frank, and regulations on the financial industry: 

Question: Why did Senator Ayotte vote to repeal provisions of the Dodd Frank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and would she support some kind of CFPB?

Ayotte: "I'm fine with [a CFPB], I just want oversight. I want more accountability, and I want to make sure [that] when I hear from so many people in New Hampshire, especially small banks that serve our local communities, that our regulatory framework is one that allows those banks to continue to thrive."

Question: How does Governor Hassan feel about the issue of regulations for large financial institutions?

Hassan: "I have met with bankers and I do think that there are adjustments we could make to Dodd Frank to really address their concerns."

On Federal Minimum Wage:

Question: What should the federal minimum wage be?

Senator Ayotte says the minimum wage would need to depend on economic conditions, and whether or not jobs would be lost as a result of raising the minimum wage. Governor Hassan supports raising the minimum wage in phases to $12 an hour. 

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