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Congressional candidates discuss criminal justice reform

Republican First District Rep. Rob Wittman and his Democratic challenger Qasim Rashid faced off for the first of two scheduled debates last Thursday night in Fredericksburg.

The setting—the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy—was appropriate for the topic, as the two candidates discussed their stance on issues related to criminal justice reform.

Mike Harvey, executive director of the training academy for the area’s law enforcement officers, served as moderator for the program. The 90-minute debate can be viewed in its entirety at

The two disagreed on the issue of a nationwide standard for the use of force in police encounters with the public. “I don’t believe a one-size-fits-all [approach] does justice to what needs to happen,” said Wittman, who said that such issues are best determined by the local agencies.

“We need to have standard reforms” that provide equal rights for citizens, no matter where the...

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