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GOP Primary Debate

By Amber Qalagari, Special to the Chronicle

With the Presidential Debate only months away there is no doubt that politics are in the air at Hofstra.  The presidential election is not the only election on the minds of long islanders as the GOP Primaries of the New York State's 4th Congressional District are now in full force. Looking to get the inside scoop on who would challenge current Senator Carolyn McCarthy this November, the College Republicans sponsored the first ever one-on-one debate between contenders, Fran Becker and Frank Scaturro.

There was quite some buzz surfacing both on and off campus as members from WRHU, Hofstra Television Interactive, LIPolitics.com, and LIReport.org came to cover the debate. The Cultural Center Theatre's chairs were filled with members from different Hofstra political clubs, numerous other nonpolitically affiliated Hofstra students, and Scaturro and Becker supporters.

Moderated by members of College Republicans and Dr. Rosanna Perotti, both opponents were given prompt questions that covered four key topics: Economy, Health Care Reform, National Security, and Energy. Both candidates, who share similar conservative views and values, seemed to come to a consensus regarding the necessary changes and proposals within each category. 

Economically, both were in favor of lowering taxes, restructuring the spending process, and revaluating our entitlement package which includes Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.  In regards to health care reform, both proposed the repeal of Obama-care and a new heath care be put in its place that focuses on doctor and patient relationships that promote competition among insurance companies and give greater emphasis to preventative care.

Both also agreed that we need to step up our national security and secure our borders. Scaturro reprimanded the Obama Administration's "alienation of our allies and emboldening of our enemies" as well as the "lackadaisical approach" in regards to sanctions with Iran. In the matter of energy, both believed in the expansion of renewable energy sources and the freeing up of our domestic energy reserves.

The real debate of the night lied in the question of who could better put these plans into action. Scaturro seemed to be targeted as the political rookie who lacks the experience Becker has under his belt. Becker agreed with Scaturro's proposals but pointed out that "they had already been done, and didn't work." Scaturro understood his disposition but considered himself an informed "freshman" that knows, "how to get from a to b, and get this country back on track."

Before both gave their conclusions the final question of the night was targeted at the Hofstra students in the room: "Why are Republican's losing the youth vote?" Becker attributed this shift to "liberal philosophies taught today that require the government to be the great provider" and no longer reward or praise hard work. Scaturro blamed the cynical view the youth has of the government due to intimidation of crony politics that "drive youth off in droves."

As Scaturro and Becker fight to win the votes of New York citizens they come together on a major election problem: the involvement of the youth. The issues discussed in the debate are ones that we face today and will continue to face after we leave college.  It is impertinent that students understand and participate in politics.  While both candidates' conclusions outlined their plans for election Scaturro and Becker both gave a mini charge to students to get politically active and vote. Scaturro believes "we can do better than these unfortunate events" and get back to the "can-do nation" that Becker elated we once were. The way to do that is in the hands of the youth, so get out, get involved, and vote!

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