By Stephanie Witt Sedgwick:
State Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-33) faced off against Rep. Barbara Comstock (R- 10) on Sept. 21 for the Congressional candidates’ only debate so far in the campaign. In a discussion restricted to business issues, Wexton attacked the GOP-led tax act for benefiting the top 1% and decried the erosion of bipartisanship under the leadership of a president whom Congress has failed to check.
Wexton pointed out that four-fifths of the tax cuts went to the top 1%. She called for tax reform that is fair and benefits the working class, not this package which, she argued, is mortgaging the future of our children and grandchildren. As for District 10, the district from which she seeks to unseat Comstock, Wexton cited the cap on state and local deductions as an example of a part of the bill that has directly negatively impacted the district’s taxpayers.
Wexton also attacked Pres. Trump’s imposition of tariffs, calling them needless and reckless. She highlighted the negative impact on the region’s apple farmers as an example.
Wexton disagreed with the current administration’s rollback of Obama-era federal regulations. She said that she supports regulation reduction where the regulations are “unduly burdensome,” but stressed that we need to keep our communities safe and that any suggestion that the cost of a regulation should be the primary consideration was wrong.
In her remarks, Comstock supported the tax cut and regulation slashing but on other issues often tried to distance herself from Pres. Trump. For example, on tariffs she termed herself a “free-trader” and said the tariffs would be short-lived. Similarly, on Trump’s goal to freeze federal workers’ salaries, Comstock said she is working with colleague to avoid any pay freeze and that the government needs to stay competitive with the private sector to get the talent we need.
But Wexton did not let Comstock get away with re-defining her positions. She pointed out that Comstock’s record included votes for legislation that allowed for pay cuts for federal workers. Comstock is “a masterful political chameleon,” said Wexton.
The debate was hosted by the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce in Leesburg and was part of the Policy Makers Series. It drew a sell-out crowd of close to 550, a high mark for the Policy Makers Series.
Other topics addressed included national issues such as the Affordable Health Care Act and immigration, as well as local issues, such as Metro funding and the welfare of Dulles Airport.
At this time, this debate is the only one both of the candidates have agreed to attend. Footage of the full debate can be viewed on YouTube.
PHOTO ABOVE STORY: State Sen. Jennifer Wexton and U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock face off on l business-related issues in debate hosted Sept. 21 by the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce.
Stephanie Witt Sedgwick is a member of the Dranesville District Democratic Committee and Virginia Democracy Forward. A former columnist and recipe editor for The Washington Post, she now writes a weekly column for mylittlebird.com.