tv Campaign 2018 South Carolina 1st District U.S. House Debate CSPAN October 21, 2018 3:08pm-4:06pm EDT
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer: today, it a debate in the race for the u.s. senate seat in massachusetts between incumbent democratic senator elizabeth warren and republican a memberr jeff deal, of the massachusetts house of representatives. live coverage starts at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. election,ys until the make c-span your primary source for campaign 2018. c-span's campaign 2018 coverage continues now with the south carolina first district house debate between republican katie arrington and
democrat joe cunningham. they are competing to replace incumbent republican mark sanford who was defeated by miss arrington in the primary race. polls give her a slightly at the debate is courtesy of wciv tv in charleston. >> it is your voice, your future. tonight, live from the campus of charleston southern university, it is the 2018 congressional debate for south carolina's first district, brought to you and charlestonr southern university. please welcome tonight's moderator, dean stevens. the history of the first congressional set district in south carolina runs deep, and in three weeks, other -- either representative kate arrington or joe cunningham will add their names to the ledger that includes mark sanford, tim scott, henry brown and wendell rivers. good evening, everybody. i am dean stevens.
we thank you for joining us and welcome to the campus of charleston southern university. the district runs along 80% of our coastline, from hilton head to charleston county. it includes five county. counties, charleston, dorchester, buford, berkeley. as for tonight's debate, both miss arrington and mr. cunningham have agreed on the debate format and would like to go over the rules quickly with you. the candidates will not give an opening statement. each candidate will have just one minute to respond to each question asked. each candidate will also be allowed to use three rebuttals, which can be used at any time and they will be limited to 30 seconds. the candidates are not allowed to ask questions of each other. they will have one minute for closing statements. as for our three panelists tonight asking the questions, we would like to first introduce christie gramley, assistant
professor of political science here at charleston southern university. charleston senior diana snelgrove, a history and political science major who will graduate next spring. and finally, tessa spencer adams, she has spent 28 years in the broadcast industry and worked the last seven years in abc news 4 and good morning charleston. thank you for being here tonight and a green for being a part of this debate. [applause] dean: in the interest of time during tonight's debate, we have asked to the audience to refrain from clapping, cheering and making noise. there are three exceptions to the rule. one is when we introduce them. your applause will also be welcome at the conclusion of tonight's debate. your applause is also welcome right now as we welcome the candidates in alphabetical order. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our state representative katie arrington and joe cunningham. [cheers and applause]
dean: and with that, it is time to begin our debate. the order of the responses was determined before the debate by random draw. mr. cunningham, the first question will go to you and will be asked by professor gramley. >> good evening. if elected, what would be the first law you would propose in congress? mr. cunningham: thank you, charleston southern, channel four, dean stevens and katie arrington for being here. if elected to congress, i think it is important we bring back the ban of offshore drilling. i think it is important for people to realize that there was a ban on offshore drilling put together by republican mayors, democratic mayors and independent mayors. the ban was lifted by this administration.
my opponent supported lifting the ban. i cannot have a posted more. -- have opposed it more. i think our beaches, our coastlines, our waterways are our prime joy here in the first district and i would fight like hell to protect them. as your congressmen, that would be one of the first orders of business that i would do to protect the country here. dean: representative arrington? ms. arrington: thank you all. thank you for doing this tonight. i appreciate you all doing this tonight. everyone in the audience, thank you. so, i am not for drilling off the coast of south carolina, but the only person who can give an exemption to that is the president of the united states. i have clearly had a meeting with him regarding this, the vice president, and senior administration officials to ensure we had an exemption. but understand, i will have a seat at the table. mr. cunningham wrote a letter that no one will read for the next two years. the first law i would pass is about infrastructure. we need to bring our tax dollars back to the low country, to
build roads, build bridges, and fix our storm drain system that has been in disrepair for over 50 years. our dollars have been going to washington and that is something everyone in this district will feel, from dorchester county all the way to charleston, berkeley, buford, we all feel the need for infrastructure. the first thing i will do is bring our infrastructure dollars back home. dean: rebuttal? representative arrington, the next question will be asked to you. >> good evening. many students on campus are concerned about gun violence. how do we prevent school shootings, while also protecting people's second amendment rights? ms. arrington: first and foremost, this nation's greatest assets are our nation and our youth. we need to do whatever we can to protect them.
that is why as i have been getting ready for the election, -- last year, congress and president passed the stop school violence act. it provides money, our federal dollars in washington, back to the state. to apply for grants. there is a company right here in north charleston that creates bulletproof doors. i am working with school districts to write up a grant for them to submit, to provide bulletproof doors and additional -- and provide additional physical security, sro officers on school grounds every single day. the first thing we need to do is protect the children and i will always stand unequivocally to protect your second amendment rights. dean: thank you. mr. cunningham: i support the second amendment. i am a gun owner. i have no concealed weapons permit. there is not enough legislation to cure all the ills of our society. we need personal responsibility, to make sure we keep guns out of the hands of children and people who should not have them.
i think we should also have some common sense gun safety legislation. i think we should also have comprehensive background checks. i don't see the need for bump stocks, which turn semi automatic weapons to automatic weapons. my opponent supports bump stocks. i am proud to say, i can go and fight for the second amendment but also for common sense and legislation, because unlike my opponent, i am not funded by special interests, or the nra. all of my money is coming through individuals and that is who i am going to serve. ms. arrington: can i rebuttal? dean: yes, you can. ms. arrington: ladies and gentlemen, that is what i have an a rating from the nra. my opponent has an f rating. if we start touching the second amendment, what other moments can they go after? the right to free speech? we have to protect those, we have to ensure government does what we have already asked them to do, which in a failed most
-- which they failed most recently. south carolina and texas, government is failing there already, why would we ask them to do more? next question from tessa spencer adams? tessa: good evening. many people believe we have a mental health crisis in this country. what can be done by the federal government to address the crisis? mr. cunningham: our health care crisis is widespread. it goes from mental health care and everywhere. everyone in south carolina should have access to affordable and quality health care. right now, they don't. i think back to when my wife was pregnant, she got a fever. we were concerned about taking her in because we were thinking about how much it would cost. each one at home has a similar story, how health care costs have prevented you from seeking health care. that is just wrong. it is important to remember that the aca was not perfect, but i
think we should keep what works, throw out what doesn't, and come together, republicans and democrats, and fix it. my opponent wants to go back to the days when we discriminate against people because of pre-existing conditions. i think that is wrong and un-american. dean: that is your time. thank you. representative arrington? ms. arrington: once again mr. cunningham, you are wrong. i am actually a pre-existing condition. i am a walking breast cancer survivor, so i am absolutely going to ensure we maintain that good thing that came out of the obamacare act. the rest, not so much. let us answer the question about mental health. we have a mental health crisis. number one, because we do not value the doctors and the clinicians. we need to do more to support them to help each other. we need to work on getting insurance plans to people out there that can get good mental health care.
telehealth is an amazing new advancement that we have. we need to do more to support that. when people are in crisis, we need to work in government to ensure we give them the tools to survive. we have people in this country who are sitting in hospital beds because of obamacare for hours and days, waiting for care. that is unacceptable and that is what i am going to washington to fix. mr. cunningham: can i respond? dean: yes, you can. mr. cunningham: once again, your record does not clear. two suggest otherwise is being dishonest with the voters here in the low country. dean: professor gramley, question for representative arrington. prof. gramley: the partisan divide feels wider and deeper than it ever has before. how would your character, behavior and choices in congress mend that divide?
ms. arrington: thank you, that is a great question, lead by example. this has turned into the whisper campaign. because i did not bring out the fact that i had breast cancer fact that i had breast cancer out publicly, a whisper campaign went around charleston that i was lying about it. the worst thing that happened, i had nine african-american democrats endorse me and what came out was a picture of them being lynched with me standing there in southern regalia. that is exactly the problem with nancy pelosi and the d.c. democrats. that kind of division. i will lead by example. when these things are set about -- were said about me recently, i took them on the chin. i think it is a battle of good and evil when you have people who are willing to lie about others. i think when you threaten to intimidate someone and take their basic rights away of free speech, that is evil and that is something i would never do. dean: mr. cunningham?
mr. cunningham: this is tearing our country apart and its moral fabric. it is pitting neighbor against neighbor, husband against wife, brother against sister. and it is manifesting itself because of comments like what representative arrington said on the radio, that this campaign is about good and evil. i don't think so, it is a matter of spirited debate on issues. but when you put that kind of rhetoric out, you drive a wedge between people. i don't know how you can say that you are going to congress to represent everyone when you are classifying some people as good and others as evil. classifying people as evil that you served with at the state house. mayor riley is a democrat. representative david mack. do you think those people are evil, as well? i think that kind of rhetoric is destroying our country and it is that kind of rhetoric she wants to bring to d.c. the kind of rhetoric that i would like to extinguish. ms. arrington: can i use my
rebuttal? dean: yes, you may. ms. arrington: ladies and gentlemen, joe cunningham is trying to paint a picture. let me be clear. when you -- when the picture came out of the people being lynched, he did not condemn it. he didn't condemn it when the rumor went around that i was faking breast cancer. he did not come -- he did not condemn it. in fact, he wouldn't even condemn archie parnell and his wife abuse, spouse abuse. we are talking, this is a problem. not owning your mistakes. dean: time is up. diana, your question for joe cunningham? >> students are worried about wracking up college debt and not being able to play it off for decades to come. what are your plans for making education more affordable? mr. cunningham: college education should be affordable. i am happy to have my degree in ocean engineering and also my law degree. my wife and i paid the equivalent of a mortgage in student loan debt every month
and i'm sure many people at home feel exactly the same way, that they cannot get ahead because they are paying so much in student loan debt. right now, you can only write off the debt interest. i think you should be able to write off more, we should control the cost of higher education. i think it has gotten out of control and it has pushed the american dream for so many young students out of reach. they are living with their parents right now because it -- they cannot afford a down payment, because most of their money goes into the closed loop system of student loan debt. i am there with you. i understand the problem. i think that controlling the cost and also being able to write off your debt would help students get ahead. ms. arrington: could you repeat the question please? diana: what are your plans for making education affordable? ms. arrington: first and foremost, education is an investment in you, so we have to show you the return on your investment, that is what is important. i don't have a college degree. i started, i went through a lot
of different schools but i was never able to culminate it into a degree. it doesn't mean that i am more or less valuable than anyone else in this community. governments job is to cut taxes so there are more jobs for the young coming out of school, to go into. to earn the money to pay back the debt. because it is a return on investment. think about it, if we were to go in and say, everybody gets -- what about all those people who have worked so hard to get an education? we need to be able to provide jobs for people to earn a good living, so they can pay off their debt, but we cannot discount the fact that there are many people who just aren't going to go to college. there is nothing wrong with technical schools or trade. we need advancement for all, not just to go for four year degrees. dean: thank you. tessa, question to miss arrington. tessa: what have you done in
your campaign to gain support from minorities in the low country? ms. arrington: i used my endorsement of the nine african-american leaders. i went directly to them, spoke to them and the reason they endorsed me was because they knew i would work hard to lower taxes, create jobs and provide safer communities for us to live in. isn't that what we all want? it should not be based on everybody's race, color or religion, it should be based on what we can do to make our community better. i will work hard to make sure the tax cuts become permanent because small business owners and middle-class americans that have gotten $3000 back this year can be able to better prepare for that. communities see that. they want that and that is something i am proud of and worked for in my campaign. dean: students need to be healthy and educated, those are -- mr. cunningham: students need to be healthy and educated, those are two core building blocks and right now, they are being left behind on health care
and education. if you want to drive down the cost of health care and we want to increase the level of education. all of that applies to the african-american community here in the first district. i am proud that she has received an endorsement from nine african-american leaders. i will save the rest of my time for her to name those for us. because i have not met them yet. ms. arrington: maurice washington, jerome white, do you want me to go on? mr. cunningham: yes, please do. ms. arrington: i don't understand the point. dean: i will stop this right now, no questions will be asked from one opponent to the next. ms. arrington: can i rebuttal? dean: you may. ms. arrington: i would be happy to provide those nine names, but since it was made public that they did it, they have been threatened, and some of them have lost their jobs. i don't feel comfortable doing that because this community and the rhetoric that has come out of it has made it unsafe for these people to have their names out there. that is what i mean by evil. when you put up a picture up of somebody being lynched.
dean: representative arrington, thank you. ling, is there ai question for mr. cunningham? prof. gramling: mr. cunningham, where would you support the president's policies? representative arrington, is there a line in the sand you won't cross when it comes to supporting the president's policies? mr. cunningham: president trump came out and spoke about a bill for infrastructure. i think that is a huge concern. at subsequent p.m. every night, i want to be home, because that is when i give my son a bath. sometimes, it is the only best quality time i have with him sometimes. i put my phone in the other room and it is just him and i. sometimes i get home around 7:00, 7:30 p.m., that is taken away from me. each of you at home have something different that you want to make it too, maybe it is your daughter's softball game. if we are stuck in infrastructure, traffic, that is a tax of time we are paying because government cannot fulfill its basic responsibility. i think the reason they cannot
fulfill that responsibility is because there is so much divisiveness. i know that we can work together. katie arrington has been clear that she doesn't want to work with anybody in the statehouse or in congress. i will. i have bipartisan support, republican endorsements. obviously, i can work across the aisle. dean: representative arrington? ms. arrington: once again, mr. cunningham, you are wrong again. i worked in the statehouse and was able to press registration those bounced around for years because it went across the line. and obviously, i can work across the aisle. not every democrat is always wrong, nor every republican always right. but what i can tell you is when i disagree with the president. on anything. i will go to him and tell him directly. i told him that recently at the white house come inside the oval office. tariffs. i don't agree with everything being done. but i have the respect of the president of the united states to have that conversation, and i
will have a seat at the table. unlike mr. cunningham. who do you want more in the next two years representing you? someone at the table or on the menu? mr. cunningham: the problem is your record does not match your rhetoric. you went on breitbart radio and said you wanted to be the kellyanne conway of congress, but spent the whole primary attacking congressman sanford because he stood up to president trump it you refuse to stand up to president trump when he lifted the ban on offshore drilling, when he imposed these tariffs that are killing jobs in the low country. you are incapable of doing it, you will not do it. this question from tessa to representative arrington. tessa: this question comes up on social media and twitter. do you agree with repealing obamacare, and if so -- what solution do you support for improving health care?
100%.rington: the career politicians in washington failed us. we have to repeal and replace obamacare. pre-existing conditions is one. the first thing we need to do is empower small businesses, what obamacare did too small businesses roque this nation. small businesses mandated that ,f there was a 48 hour employee my husband and i are small business owners, we had to offer health care. we did anyway. but it cost so many others that they had to bring their employees to 25 hours or 30 hours. first thing we need to incentivize small business to provide good quality health care to their best assets. next, we need to cause transparency in billing. so we get our true value. we have misbilling, misdiagnosis, fraud, waste, and abuse. we need to take care of that. the final thing would be, why don't you, the american citizen, own yourur --
health-care record? think if you owned it, not the hospitals, not the doctors. mr. cunningham: let me start off by saying we recognize there will be inconsistencies with my opponents decisions p we set up a website called joecunninghamfacts.com. you can go on real-time and check the facts. we are trying to keep up real-time, but it depends on how fast my opponent speaks. the bill you supported though, katie, would go back to the age of discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions, whether they had diabetes or cancer. any type of pre-existing condition, their rates would go up. the bill you supported, it also supports a senior's tax. i think we can drive down the cost of health care with commonsense solutions. it will take democrats and republicans coming together. i think medicare should be able to negotiate the price of drugs, similar to how the da does. you are only going to get to
these commonsense solutions if you said people who can work across the aisle. my opponent can't. i will. dean: thank you, mr. cunningham. -- i skipped over you. you get a question here. >> one of my loved ones was personally affected by -- i didn't get to answer. dean: my apologies. back to your original question. ms. arrington: i'm sorry. you are right. sorry. dean: go ahead. loved one has a chronic illness and this makes it difficult to get the medication they need. would you have modifications to the current opioid laws? mr. cunningham: the opioid
crisis is an epidemic in this country. i met a gentleman whose son is addicted to opioids, number 168 in the state. charleston county now leads the state in opioid overdoses. i think big pharma has too much control in our health care systems and needs to be kicked out of the drivers seat. they shouldn't be there dictating the prices of pharmaceuticals, and also controlling the market with opioids. that's why we are not taking a single dime in special interests. or packed dollars. my opponent is being fueled by pact dollars. big pharma, big oil. payday lenders. that is who is controlling her campaign. i will stand up to big pharma. because i'm not taking their money. my opponent is beholden to them. ms. arrington: once again, mr.
cunningham, the fact that you take nancy pelosi's laundered that one be.l let the question was about opioids. i have first-hand experience, unlike mr. cunningham. everything in my life has brought me to this my mother point. passed away in this campaign cycle. chronic pain. she was addicted to opioids through the bulk of her adult life, and i watched it take my mother from a vital human being to -- [pauses] -- a withered human being. i sat on the south carolina task force for two years. i was not on it but i went to the meetings could i heard from our community. what we need to do is ensure that the people who are actually being picked up for opioid addiction get treatment, they don't get convictions. that is imperative. we need to ensure they have the bets to get treatment at. that is what government should do. on the other side, make sure that the drug dealers and the people bringing those narcotics
into our communities are held to the highest penalties the law can imagine. dean: that's your time. thank you for will come back down this way, tessa. a question for katie arrington? tessa: what will you do to help fund fema? ms. arrington: awesome question. thank you so much. fema. it's necessary. over this election cycle, instead of going on brewery tours, i went into the community. i went to people and had fled solution roundtables because it is imperative we hear from the people directly of what is going on. the information together. along with what we found out in turkey -- in church creek basin where the family that was flooded three times, fema is not getting the money to mitigate the flood to homeowners. they are just bringing the homes back to pre-existing conditions. we need to mitigate floods.
is to ensure that the people in this district have the resources they can get to run through the bureaucratic red tape and the career politicians in washington that have created. i will be offering one person from the staff, full-time, located here in the low country. their job is to do nothing more than assist the community with the floods that happened. fema applications. and ensure that taxpayers get their best dollar value out of their tax dollar. dean: tessa? i'm sorry, go ahead. mr. cunningham: it is a huge issue. most of us know, high tide, you can't take used bay street. heavy rain coming you can't take across town. we are seeing it more and more frequently. i think it was the mayor earlier this week, talking about the corps of engineers studies, you -- and the solutions lacking, about that. -- and the solutions that can come about that. we go up there and get the money
if we are able to work across the aisle and work with each other. democrats, republicans, and independents. katie arrington said the job as a republican congressperson is a fight for their team. i think the job is to represent you here in the low country. the question to be asked, if you didn't do anything in the statehouse about flooding, why would you expect her to go to congress and do something? i think the answer is pretty clear. we will not get anything done for the first district until we start working together. dean: we will go to professor forling for a question joe cunningham. prof. gramling: the south carolina coast is worth nearly $9 million in tourism and almost 100,000 jobs. additionally, with the recent discovery of a coral reef off of the coast of charleston, what will you do to protect the south carolina coast? mr. cunningham: offshore drilling. ban offshore drilling once and for all to talk talked about
that earlier. how my opponent supported lifting the ban on offshore drilling. she will not explain to why she supported the ban. it shows poor judgment, really. if you lift a ban on smoking inside a restaurant, what do you expect to happen? people will start smoking. if you lift a ban on offshore drilling, people will drill. republican mayors across the aisle, republican congressman, they endorsed my campaign because they realize i'm the only one who can be trusted on this issue. i am the only one they can count on to defend beaches, coastal waterways, and the environment. ms. arrington: first and foremost, let's go back to, i'm not for offshore drilling off the coast of south carolina. i'm working with the president of the united states to sign. but we are talking about protecting our coastline. what i've been doing during the campaign season? i'm part of the american flood coalition, a group that has come
along and realized their coastlines are at risk. the money came down from fema, a had a for flood medications for the state of south carolina, $157 million. all we are asking is for $30 million to build a seawall to protect our most vulnerable hospital district and the v.a., so that during flooding events, like florence, people can get to the level one trauma center and get to the da to get the -- the v.a. to get the benefits they deserve. and people can move around the hospital district. that is thing one. working to protect our coast to ensure the beach arena nourishment maintains that is something that is imperative. we have to have a breaker out there so the water does not erode our beach erosion. dean: thank you. mr. cunningham: i'm not sure why she dodged the issue of offshore drilling. 6:21,d go to matthew which says where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
i ask you to take a look at where katie arrington's treasure is. her money is coming from pacs, special interests, big oil, big pharma. her own campaign treasurer was a lobbyist for 15 years for bp oil. i think that says it all. dean: that is all the rebuttals for both candidates for the next 30 minutes. question 11, diana to miss arrington. diana: right. in the last few years, south carolina has dealt with multiple flooding events. what will you do to fix the flooding? ms. arrington: as i stated earlier, i have been conducting flood solution roundtables and going to our communities to find out what we need. one of the bigger issues we have is that what goes up must come down. we need our storm drain systems to be maintained, cleaned, and upsized. because when it rains upstate and it comes to drain into the harbor at high tide, flooding -- backflow happens on flooding happens. so we need someone to go to
washington, has laser focus to get the money back into districts to fix those problems. secondly, as i said, i will have someone in district who will be the point of connection for the community, for the state, for the federal and local level. to ensure that when we need something done like cleaning out storm drains, it's not as easy as you think. if there is a waterway, you have to get a permit from the army corps of engineers. there is a litany of things they -- that need to be done. we need someone allocated to be a kind of concern for everyone in the community. i will have that in district. mr. cunningham: i think you need to be able to work with state and local officials, but i think it is also important that you believe in climate change and you believe that flooding, hurricanes are happening at more intense frequency. i'm the only one up here that believes in climate change and believes in science. i think you have to have that foundation. i don't think that putting an
intern on the issue is going to be good enough. it is about going up to washington, d.c. reaching across the aisle and working with democrats, republicans, and independents, and coming forward with solutions and standing up for the values in low country, even if it means standing up to your own party. i'm the only one here that would do that. dean: thank you. come back towill you for a question for mr. cunningham. growth isling: booming. traffic is at a standstill. what will you do to ensure south carolina will get the federal dollars needed to deal with infrastructure? mr. cunningham: if you are sitting in traffic, like i said, that is a tax you are paying because the government has not fulfilled their most basic function. i-26, 526 is a joke. based on how the have grown, we are a low country of 2018 and we are confined by the infrastructure of the 1960's, that needs to change.
you can only go up there and get those federal dollars, 26, 526, we need flowers from 17 on the main road. we need to relocate utilities. all of these dollars can only be received if you go up there and work with others on a strong infrastructure package and be able to work with people across the aisle, which i've been proven to do. we have got endorsements here. my opponent hasn't done anything at the statehouse besides raise your taxes. that is all she has done here. i'm going to work with others to get results in the low country. ms. arrington: i appreciate mr. cunningham for trying to convince everyone i can't work across the aisle. just because you say it doesn't make it real. i work hard to make infrastructure the key platform in my statehouse race. in the time i was in the statehouse, i worked across the aisle to ensure we got infrastructure dollars back in the district and that we took care of the problems we have.
but when we talk about our traffic and how congested it is, and yes, the development is overblown, but we need to have someone who understands how government works, to go up and get the money for the federal dollars, to add lanes to 26, to build a bridge from daniel island. the port is a huge source of our income for economy in the state and we have to ensure we have that. understanding the process is something i get. i get how to get the money back. no one wants to sit in traffic, least of all me. i have grandchildren, a husband and a family to get home to, just like you. dean: the next question is asked by diana to ms. arrington. diana: do you support the legalization of marijuana, medically or recreationally? ms. arrington: i worked hard in the statehouse on this issue specifically. i understand the challenges with the laws. i do support medicinal
marijuana. i think the fda and career politicians have let that drag on too long. that is something that should be a scheduled to a narcotic. my mother, god rest her soul. because i had to give her morphine when she was in incredible pain, instead of medicinal marijuana or cannabis, she suffered tremendously. i watched epileptic children come before my committee at the statehouse, whose only way to get through the day is through medicinal marijuana. i will work hard to ensure we keep our promise to our community on that, but also respecting the law. it should become a schedule ii narcotic. we should ensure law enforcement has the they need to protect the community. mr. cunningham: we had a veterans roundtable last week. one of the veterans there was talking about how he ran to get treated and they just prescribed
opioids. he got addicted to oxycontin. when medical marijuana would have sufficed. i think medical marijuana should be legal. i'm not sure it should be a schedule ii, the same level as oxycontin. i don't view it as that strong. but i think it should be legal. as relates to recreational marijuana, i think that should be left to the states. the federal government becomes too involved in our lives sometimes and i think it should be a state issue, depending on the state level. dean: tessa, question for mr. cunningham. tessa: it has been reported that contraband cell phones contributed to seven inmate deaths at the correctional institution during a riot. where do you stand on the fcc installing cell phone jamming technology in our prisons? mr. cunningham: i worked in the prosecutor's office for a number of years, prosecuting violence. i understand the risk that is
involved with correctional officers, law enforcement, and how they put their lives on the lines every single day. any measure that can be put in place that might be able to damper those risks, i would be more than willing to consider it. it is wrong for cell phones to be inside prisons. it shouldn't be there. i think if there are ways to eliminate those risks, we should consider those as well. but i always stand on the side of law enforcement. i've worked with them, alongside them. i've been inside the grand jury rooms with them, presenting evidence and solving cases with them and i will continue to do that in congress. ms. arrington: prior to becoming a legislator, i am a subject matter expert on cyber security, specifically disruptive technology. i worked with brian stirling to get some jamming technology into south carolina. there is some up in maryland, i believe, on a pilot basis. the reason i did that is
because, i'm sure you all know, the five sheriffs of this community endorsed me because they understand that i know the challenges they face every day. we absolutely can jam the cell phones without a doubt. people in prison have broken the law and should not have the rights to use cell phones at will. it is a controlled environment, and we need to make sure that law enforcement officers, who put their lives on the line every day, our correctional officers, are protected. people in prisons with phones are doing bad things and it needs to stop. dean: a question for katie arrington. prof. gramling: how would you reform immigration laws? ms. arrington: first of all, build the wall. we need to do that. secondarily, i have spent a lot of time with the farmers and stone builders in the area. we need to reform our migrant worker visas.
it is a simple process that we can create. it is just congress and the career politicians have made it a challenge. why can't people who want to work in this country as a migrant worker by a six-month visa? get a 15 digit number, we can verify who the person is, get taxes from them and provide them services for it. at the end of six months, they can pay another fee to stay. we need to clean the h1 visa program. congress has been kicking this can down the road for too long to we need someone in washington to get it done. there's a lot to be done, but we need to protect our country first and foremost. mr. cunningham: nothing is more important to me than keeping your family safe, keeping my family safe. we are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws. we need tough, smart border security.
not border security that just looks tough, but that is tough. we built walls in the 1600s -- 1500s because that is the only technology we had. we now have highly trained border personnel, drones, satellite imagery. we can control the border at a fraction of the cost. i don't think we need to be spending billions of dollars on a wall. i would rather spend it serving the low country, building our infrastructure. whether it be our roads, fixing flooding, fixing issues here. that is the best use of tax dollars. dean: thank you. diana, the next question is yours for mr. cunningham. diana: where do you stand on abortion laws, even in cases of rape and incest? mr. cunningham: listen, i support a woman's right to choose under the law and roe v. wade. a settled law. period. i support a woman's right to choose, in the case of rape or incest.
i think we need to expand woman's health care access. that is an issue. my opponent protested outside planned parenthood, where women go to get cancer screenings and testing. i think it is imperative we expand that access. keep the parts of the aca that benefit women. open up their access to those cancer screenings and testing and make sure they have the proper health care they need. that is what is important to me. and protecting the law. ms. arrington: first and foremost, as a mother of a child born with special needs, i understand the sanctity of life and i am unequivocally and unapologetically supportive of life. i did not stand outside planned parenthood and protest, i was praying for the young women walking in there and the babies that would never see the light of day. whether roe v. wade is fair, my -- is there, my challenge is
that tax dollars should not be paying for abortion. that is something i cannot condone and i will make no apologies for standing up for the sanctity of life. no life in this world, any ones, is worth being murdered before you even have a chance to become a human being. i'm sorry -- i'm not sorry, i am very proud of it. i would never support abortion, would never support taxpayer-funded abortions as my opponent will. dean: tessa, a question for representative arrington. tessa: we have another social media question. this is from rob on twitter. he says, people are tired of not being heard by elected officials. what are you going to do to ensure the concerns that all of your constituents are represented in washington? ms. arrington: i have experience in the state house and you know, you can go to anyone in somerville, i am an acceptable person. having good people around a congressman is important.
because the thing with congress, they call it potomac fever. somehow along the line, we are not the smartest person in the room until we get elected, then somehow they think they are. i'm not that way. i look to my community because i want to represent you. this is about service over self. this is about being the voice of the community, not the opinion. i make myself available. my cell phone is still the same cell phone number i had. people call it and i pick it up every day. i will be in the district one week every month to meet with my flood solution roundtable, to meet with the community activists who need help in policy or legislation. this is a community effort and i will always be ready, willing, and available to serve my community. mr. cunningham: everyone should have a voice in this district. everyone should be represented. whenever my opponent stood on
yorktown and said that the job of the republican congressman is to fight for their team, that is simply excluding everyone else who may not be on the team. i think it is important to listen to your constituents. that's why i don't delete comments off facebook, like some -- unlike some people. we let everyone have a voice. they will continue to have a voice, whether republican, democrat, independent, my door will always be open. i am running to serve you and no one else. dean: christie, a question for mr. cunningham. prof. gramling: a story was released that showed both volvo and bmw losing tens of millions of dollars due to the new chinese tariffs. do you support those tariffs? mr. cunningham: absolutely not. we were at an event last week, a gentleman came up to me named jeremy and he told me he works for a production company in town. they were on a 24/7 production line.
he was working nights and weekends to save up money for the down payment for his home. after the tariffs, they cut back and he lost his weekend shifts, lost his overtime, lost his chance at the american dream. these tariffs, i agree with congressman sanford, these tariffs are taxes. my opponent has made it clear that she supports president trump's policies, she will not stand up to them. that is on the record. she will not stand up for the low country when it is time to stand up to the president. and i will, and that is the key difference. ms. arrington: it is always about the china tariffs, it isn't it? ladies and gentlemen, no tariff is good. tariffs are attacks. we need to have the same opportunity, every nation on this planet has to promote and sell goods free of tax. that is the main one.
i do disagree with the president, but when i do, i don't bash him on facebook or social media, i call him and go to the oval office. let's take china for a minute. their goal is to undermine our way of life. they have a plan they've been working on. we need to ensure that america is first. so let's take china's tariffs. we have been sending china $500 million per year, $500 million per year for the better part of 20 years. we have rebuilt their infrastructure, and what have they done for us? the president is working hard to negotiate the best tariffs for this country. when they harm the community i live in, that i represent, i will be sure to tell him and work with him to make sure we protect our community. dean: diana, question for representative arrington. diana: there was a recent u.n.
study that says we have until the year 2030 to avoid unprecedented temperature rise if carbon emissions are not curbed. with this study, where do you stand on climate change? ms. arrington: i think everyone in this world can agree the climate is always changing. where we stand here right now, constantly changing. man's impact, i'm not a scientist, i can't tell you how much there is, but i know we are making an impact. but here in the united states, we work to take care of our communities. we offer incentives for companies to reduce their carbon emissions. the problem is we have countries that are taking our money, like china, that do not. how do we get them to play the game and stay on the same playing field with us? i am a person who is about figuring out how we can work together on this issue. because this planet is something we all share. so i will work tirelessly to
ensure that my children's children get to play in the same waters that i play in with my grandchildren now. mr. cunningham: climate change is real, and humans do have an impact. i said that during my primary, and i will say it during the general election. and i believe we need to start moving away from dirty energy and moving towards more clean, renewable energy resources. solar power should be huge here in south carolina. but these tariffs are impeding access to the market. for solar panel manufacturers. the tariffs on steel and aluminum make it so inconsistent, so we cannot grasp ahold because of these. i am the only one up or who stands against the tariffs and who has voiced opposition for it. it is important to state that when you are a congressman and work with other members,
republicans, democrats, and independents to make sure common sense solutions can be put in place. dean: this will be our last question tonight. tessa: ok, and our last question comes from a social media viewer. one viewer says, i would like to see the candidates talk about the issue about corporations having more say-so on policy than people do. how do you feel about that? dean: for joe cunningham first. mr. cunningham: we have not taken one single dime in our coffers from special interests or pacs. my opponent has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from special interests and pac's. i think it is important that you have a say-so, and that is what i am running to represent. i am running to represent the people of the low country. i can stand up to big oil. i can stand up to big pharma, i can stand up to the big corporations when i am standing up for you. that is the key difference between these two campaigns. we have not taken a single dollar. my opponent has opened up her coffers and is flooding them with special-interest money and pac money.
i think she needs to explain why she has taken money from payday lenders, why she has taken money from big oil and why her treasurer is the former treasurer of bp oil. katie: can you repeat the question, please? >> yes. i would like to see the candidates talk about the issues of corporations having more say-so on policies than people do. how do you feel about that? katie: as a small business owner, we come out, we open a business, we take a risk. we want to hear from our employees, we want to make sure it is a team effort we are working towards. so i think there needs to be an open dialogue. of course we need to be sure people have the best working conditions possible. can we do more to benefit employees? there needs to be an open dialogue, of course. but when you take the risk, and you own the company, you get to make the decisions. but i need to harken back to a
couple of things that my opponent has usually said about the bipartisan when he throws out attacks. my treasurer is a woman i admire. she was a single mother, became a lawyer and she happened to work for bp. and their job was to protect this environment. when it comes to money added added in for this campaign, joe cunningham has taken his money directly from nancy pelosi and maxine waters, so who do you want running this country, running this district, maxine waters and cory booker? >> thank you. the order of closing statements was determined by random drawing prior to this debate. one minute. joe: you can go to joe cunningham facts.com to find out that is not true. the day that we announced our campaign for congress, my wife announced to me that she is pregnant. and boone right now is at home right now with the babysitter, probably sleeping.
tomorrow morning, he is going to wake up and be eight months old. his little eyes will pop open, and that is the gas in my tank. that is the fuel for my fire. that is what keeps me going every single day, fighting for our country, because i know we are better than this. and one day, in the blink of an eye, he'll be standing eye level with me asking me what i did in this pivotal moment in our country's the blind partisanship -- in our country's history, what i did to prevent from strangling our democracy. i want to tell him that i stood up for truth, honesty, integrity. i'm going to tell him the same thing that i will tell you, which is that politics will never change who i am as a person. but i want you to see who i am as a person, to change politics. >> representative arrington, one minute. katie: thank you all tonight for listening to us and being interested. i need to be clear. the stakes are high, and we cannot get it wrong. with joe cunningham, you get
nancy pelosi. with joe cunningham, you get higher taxes, less jobs, open borders. with joe cunningham, you get nancy pelosi as speaker of the house, and you get maxine waters running committees in this country. we cannot afford to get it wrong. we need to send someone to washington who is going to support president trump's bold conservative agenda, the agenda of more jobs, less taxes, a secure nation, better education. that is what i'm going to washington to do. but we need to have somebody who is going to lead by example. how am i going to do that? i am going to be donating two thirds of my salary annually to charity in the first congressional district every year i am there. i am term limiting myself to four terms, eight years, no more. and until military and federal employees have the same benefits as congress, i am declining the medical and the pension for congressmen. so lead by example, thank you. >> thank you, all.
that concludes tonight's debate. we want to thank both of our candidates, representative katie errington, joe cunningham, and we would also like to thank our wonderful partners here at charleston southern as well as our panelists. thank you at home for joining us as well. and remember, three weeks from tonight, whoever you vote for, the most important decision, come that day, is to get out and vote. for abc news 4, i am dean stephens. have a great night, everyone. [applause] ♪
>> today, a debate in the race for the u.n. senate seat and massachusetts between elizabeth warren and republican challenger , jeff diehl, a member of the massachusetts house of representatives. live coverage starts at 7:00 eastern on c-span. with 16 days until the election, make c-span your primary source for campaign 2018. with the midterm elections just days away, watch the competition for the control of congress on c-span. see for yourself the candidates in the debates from key house and senate races. make c-span your primary source for campaign 2018. and the tennessee governor's race, republican billy and democrat carl dean are vying t