Congressional hopefuls debate at CNU

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Oct 10, 2012 - 02:46 PM

Photo: Candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives for the 1st Congressional District discussed the issues Tuesday night during a debate at Christopher Newport University. They are, from left, Republican incumbent Rob Wittman, independent Gail Parker and Democrat Adam Cook. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives for the 1st Congressional District discussed the issues Tuesday night during a debate at Christopher Newport University. They are, from left, Republican incumbent Rob Wittman, independent Gail Parker and Democrat Adam Cook. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

The public had a chance to observe candidates for the First Congressional District Tuesday night as they discussed their views on a range of subjects during a debate attended by about 100 people at Christopher Newport University.

Incumbent Republican Rob Wittman shared the podium with two challengers, Democrat Adam Cook of Fredericksburg and independent candidate Gail Parker of Fairfax.

With some exceptions, both Wittman and Cook took a party-line stance on the issues, while Parker repeatedly brought the discussion back to a single issue—the need for high-speed rail.

In opening remarks, Parker introduced herself as a mother and grandmother who wants to "remove the federal barriers to the building of rail." She said that building rail requires only a 20 percent federal investment, while building highways requires an 80 percent federal investment. She took up an additional issue, as well, pushing for Congressional approval of arms sales to foreign governments rather than leaving approval in the hands of the State and Defense departments, but her answer to almost every question under debate was "high-speed rail."