Dems in Mass. 4th Congressional District primary debate

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August 16, 2012, 10:24 pm
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(NECN: Alison King) - The Democratic primary candidates in the race to replace Mass. Rep. Barney Frank of the 4th Congressional District met on NECN's Broadside to debate the issues.

If any of the Democratic primary candidates came out on top, it would have to be Joe Kennedy III.

Kennedy is the runaway frontrunner in the race and while he didn't provide any blockbuster answers to the questions, he didn't have any major gaffes, either.

"I've done about 160 events in every community, every single community across this district. Knocked more doors and shaken more hands than any other candidate in the district," said Kennedy.

With millions in the bank and huge name recognition, many Mass. voters may think Kennedy is the only Democrat in the 4th Congressional race. In fact, he faces two challengers in Herb Robinson and Rachel Brown.

They met for their first televised debate Thursday.

Questions ranged from views on medical marijuana - which they are all against - to their best idea for improving the economy.

"Stimulus spending is the only thing which has been proven to fix the lagging economy and bring people back to work," said Robinson.

"One is the Space Program, two is a project I'm proposing called NOAMPA which is a great project, a national infrastructure project," argued Brown.

"Everybody says the uncertainty in the market place is crushing. So you can't ask a company to invest or business to re-write their model or a bank to lend if it looks like the rules of the game are going to change. And so that's really where I think Congress can step up," said Kennedy.

They were also asked if they think Social Security is broken.

"If you got to start anywhere else, I do think raising the cap is the place to start," said Kennedy, but adding that he didn't think the retirement age needed to be raised.

"As long as you have an adequate jobs program, you can fund Social Security," said Brown.

"The social security system is probably the healthiest part of the federal government, but it does need some minor adjustments," said Robinson, adding that the retirement age "probably" needed to be adjusted.

On foreign policy, Kennedy got emotional as he spoke about a recent trip to Israel where he learned rockets had been fired in a region he had just traveled through.

"Life goes on, these threats are very real," he said.

Kennedy also says while he supports rolling back the numbers of troops in Afghanistan, he does not support, as Barney Frank does, a trillion dollar cut to the defense budget over the next 10 years.

Tags: debate, Alison King, Democrat, Democratic primary, Rachel Brown, Joe Kennedy, MA 4th Congressional District, herb robinson
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