Barr and McGrath Debate with Election One Week Away

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Barr and McGrath Debate with Election One Week Away

Amy McGrath (D) and Congressman Andy Barr (R) in a light moment before the debate begins.

Amy McGrath (D) and Congressman Andy Barr (R) in a light moment before the debate begins.

Erin Oliver

Amy McGrath (D) and Congressman Andy Barr (R) in a light moment before the debate begins.

Erin Oliver

Erin Oliver

Amy McGrath (D) and Congressman Andy Barr (R) in a light moment before the debate begins.

Erin Oliver, Staff Writer

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“We need politicians who are not just puppets of the corporate donors.

With the 6th congressional district election coming up next Tuesday, opponents Andy Barr (R), Amy McGrath (D), and Frank Harris (L) met for one hour in a closed studio to debate various issues such as false ads, recent hate crimes, healthcare strategies, U.S. debt, foreign hacking, and their wanted legacies for Kentucky.

To the far left sat McGrath, in the middle Barr, and to the far right Harris. Each candidate seemed friendly towards one another prior to the start of the debate, and was welcoming to the media. Members of the press were given permission to take photos before the debate started, but watched the debate from a different room.

McGrath received the first question regarding attack ads, and immediately drew the audience to attention, especially when moderator Renee Shaw of KET asked, “Are you too liberal for Kentucky?”

McGrath began her answer saying she cares about American values, and that her words had been taken out of context, misrepresenting what she said. To answer her given question, she said, “On some issues I’m very conservative, on some I’m very liberal.” Going off her response, the moderator mentioned that some residents were concerned that she would establish a far left and democratic establishment. Her response to that was that the Democratic party as a whole did not even want her to run, and that her campaign has been funded by the people, inferring many support her.

When Barr was given the first opportunity to speak, he mentioned how they should have more debates like this one, referring to McGrath’s denial to previous requests of debates. Barr discussed many of his accomplishments, making it clear that under his and President Trump’s administration, the country and Kentucky has become better. He discussed his effort to work across the aisle. It was here that Barr was cut off by Libertarian opponent Harris.

The next main question mentioned the latest shootings in Louisville and Pittsburgh, and how the candidates are committed to respond.

Both candidates expressed their grief and condolences towards the fatal shootings, but the rest of the discussion led to Barr and McGrath accusing each other of running attack ads and demonizing each other’s side.

The discussion was then switched to healthcare, which a majority of the debate was spent discussing.

Barr expressed his wish to not just repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but to replace it. He put heavy emphasis on implementing healthcare to aid those with pre-existing conditions, like his own sister.

McGrath then shared her beliefs on healthcare for Kentucky and the rest of the country. She made it very clear that she views healthcare as a right, and something all Americans should have. She defended the ACA by noting “people love it.” She blamed her opponent for violating the basic principle of do no harm by wanting to replace the plan.

McGrath mentioned several times how she enjoyed having her healthcare paid for while serving the country, and that she currently is still provided for. “This is personal,” she said. Her plan includes a public option, that people have the choice of one or two private insurances or that they could opt for government insurance. She assured that this would not lead to a single payer system.

Barr then interrupted his opponent, as he did many times throughout the debate, passionately exclaiming how she was quoted saying “single payer is the way to go”.

Both became calling each other liars and interrupting each other.

Harris then commented on how he wished he had more time to speak, as he was not often given adequate time to respond to questions.

The next major question revolved around debt, and whether a candidate’s plans were to reduce entitlement programs or if they were to make permanent tax cuts.

Barr begins his response saying Medicare is too costly, and that since more people are working, it is dissolving.

McGrath then noted the Republicans are hypocrites and give 83% of funds to the wealthiest 1%, which adds trillions to the debt.

She explained her number one goal was to lower the deficit, and that Barr had only added trillions to the debt, despite initial commitment to not. She also said if she wins the election, she will look to the top 1% to reduce the deficit.

Both Barr and McGrath began bickering once more, saying complete opposite and opposing facts revolving economic growth.

The last main question asked was how the candidates want to leave Kentucky, and what they want their legacy to be.

Barr, as he did throughout the entire debate, said America is back and better now. He did not mention what he wants to accomplish in the future.

McGrath said she wishes for Kentucky to to put leaders over their party. She hopes to invest in education and infrastructure, as well as have the country’s leaders to step up.

The debate ended as the moderator noted there needed to be another hour to cover all the topics. Barr and Harris said they wish they could and they should. Barr leaned over to McGrath for her input on another debate saying, “Amy?”

The debate was mostly successful. Although there were several moments of arguments, it seems debates these days cannot occur without them.

Overall, Andy Barr did a somewhat clear job of expressing his views, though he is already fairly well-known for his conservative stance. What he lacked was an explanation of what he plans to do or improve upon if he is to be re-elected. Many of his comments were about what he has already done.

Amy McGrath overall was much clearer in her explanations than Barr, and it was probable that the average voter could understand her stances better than her opponent. She spoke more controlled and at a better pace than Barr. However, she did spend much of her time defending herself for attack ads, making the truth foggy for those who have seen these ads frequently and have heard her speak.

Following the debate, only Barr and Harris stayed for further questions from the media. McGrath refused any media commentary and left immediately.

Barr came out in a fairly upbeat and confident mood. He expressed his wishes for further debate with McGrath, but that she kept refusing. His theory for her refusing debates is due to that she is “trying to avoid” questions she knows a majority of Kentucky will not like the answer to.

He mentions wishing they could have gotten to topics of immigration and abortion. Barr wished he was able to shine light on his opponent’s support of late-term abortion.

This debate is crucial for this Tuesday’s election. Because there have not been any other debates prior to this one, this was the first time voters could see each candidate interact and defend themselves. It is imperative for people to get out and support their candidate who they believe best represents Kentucky.