BOSTON (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) FOX 25 continued its mini-debate series on Friday, giving the candidates for the newly-configured third Congressional district a forum to debate.
Democratic Congresswoman Niki Tsongas squared off against Republican candidate Jon Golnik. The two faced each other in a similar debate two years ago at FOX 25.
Tsongas is from Lowell and has represented the fifth district since 2007. She is running in district three because of redistricting.
The Democratic Congresswoman is the first woman from Massachusetts to be elected to the U.S. Congress in 25 years. She started Lowell's first all-female law practice and serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Natural Resources Committee.
Golnik graduated from Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania with an MBA focusing on multinational management. He worked at a Wall Street law firm as a paralegal and has also worked as a foreign currency trader in New York.
Golnik is a small business owner who resides in Carlisle.
On Friday, both candidates stuck to discussing jobs.
Tsongas began the debate by answering a question about what she has done during her time in office to make a difference for Massachusetts and her constituents. The Congresswoman responded by discussing the importance of jobs in the third district and saying that she thought it was important to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. She feels that last month's unemployment numbers reflected that. Tsongas also said she feels it is important to help small businesses and create jobs for the cities in the third district that were hit hard by cuts in manufacturing jobs.
Golnik criticized Tsongas for supporting the Recovery Act, claiming that the government spent $800 billion to "create or save 3.5 million jobs." He feels that true job growth comes in the private sector.
Tsongas responded by explaining the other major facets of the bill that she feels helped Americans. She says one-third of the package consisted of tax cuts that made a difference in American lives. The other one-third went to state and local governments that were struggling. She says the money helped local governments keep teachers, police, and firefighters working.
Golnik claimed Tsongas' "rhetoric doesn't match her record" as he criticized her for votes that included voting in favor of a medical device tax. Tsongas corrected Golnik, claiming he "knew very well" that the medical device tax came up as a stand-alone vote and that she voted to repeal the medical device company's tax.
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