Charlton, Schaefer Debate Before 150 — The candidates seeking to replace Bill Adolph for the 165th District Seat in the Pennsylvania State House debated tonight (Oct. 18) before an audience of about 150 at the Springfield Township Building.
Alex Charlton of Springfield, the Republican, emphasized many times that Pennsylvania has a spending problem not one of revenue. “It’s not that we tax enough but that we spend too much,” he said.
Elaine Schaefer of Radnor, the Democrat, pushed over and over an extraction tax on natural gas, and forcing more revenue from corporations as budget solutions.
Both supported more education spending. Charlton noted that he had three daughters. Both supported greater government transparency. Charlton especially defended the Open Records Office and condemned Gov. Wolf’s attempt to politicize it last year.
Shaefer said she opposed privatizing the state-owned liquor stores because Pennsylvania would lose revenue. Charlton supported liquor privatization and noted that most of the revenue would remain as it comes from taxes which would be unchanged. He also noted that Pennsylvania would get money from the sale of the liquor stores.
Shaefer strongly defended Gov. Wolf’s plan to resettle a massive number of Syrian refugees in the state. She cited the benefits of diversity. She said that until someone is identified as a “bad actor” we must assume he is not. Charlton thought Wolf’s plan was foolish. “We need to put the needs of our citizens first,” he said.
Schaefer rabidly defended Planned Parenthood and unrestricted abortion. Charlton noted that Planned Parenthood was a billion dollar corporation but that defunding it was not on his agenda. Rather, his emphasis would be on health care for pregnant women. He noted that as long as Roe v Wade was in effect it was difficult to address abortion legislatively.
Schaefer attacked the National Rifle Association and condemned legislation that allowed municipalities to be sued if they enacted gun laws that went beyond what the state had enacted. Charlton pointed out that a state-wide patchwork of gun laws would cause turmoil and that a gun owner should have an expectation of consistency when moving around the state.
Both candidates said open space was important to a community. Schaefer took issue with Charlton’s suggestion last summer that the Philadelphia Archdiocese donate the Don Guanella tract in Marple that is up for development. She said the acquisition of open space is a long, complicated process. Charlton noted that he has met with the Archdiocese, that they were not offended and that the matter is advancing.
In response to a question regarding the recent state Supreme Court ruling that the “local share assessment” provision in the state gambling code unfairly burdened some casinos, Charlton said it was critical that Chester City and Delaware County not lose the money that they had been getting from Harrah’s in Chester, and that he expected the legislature to have the matter addressed before the winner of this election took office.
Schaefer said she wanted to tax drilling in the Marcellus Shale.
The debate was sponsored by the League of Women Voters and was videorecorded by John Haines Sr of Off Net TV. It should be available at his YouTube channel here. Or one can contact him for information, anyway.
Charlton, Schaefer Debate Before 150