North Texas Daily

Democratic nominees for TX-26 congressional seat debate impeachment, Al Franken

Democratic nominees for TX-26 congressional seat debate impeachment, Al Franken

January 13
19:27 2018

Democratic candidates for the TX-26th congressional seat Will Fisher and Linsey Fagan discussed health care, impeachment, higher education and Democrat disillusionment in a debate hosted Saturday at UNT.

The debate, held in the Lyceum theater and moderated by WFAA’s Jason Whitely, featured the two candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to run against incumbent representative and Republican Michael Burgess.

The Denton County Democratic Party and UNT’s College Democrats hosted the event.

Among the attendees of the debate was Texas House District 64 state representative candidate Andrew Morris, who came to support the Democratic party and prepare for his own debate on Jan. 25.

The debate began with a question on how each candidate would vote if the Articles of Impeachment were brought to the floor of the House.

Both candidates agreed that Trump has done impeachable things, with neither giving a definite answer as to how they would vote.

“Impeachment should not be taken lightly,” Fisher said. “What I can promise is that as with any decision, I will review all of the facts and information in front of me, particularly the results of the Mueller investigation, and make a decision based on what I feel is best for the country.”

Will Fisher shares how he transitioned into a Democrat growing up in a conservative home. Rachel Walters

Fagan spoke about Republicans choosing Trump and what she considered turning a blind eye to what Trump does.

“I think it sets a dangerous precedent, working to impeach him as a Democrat, because then what’s to say that when Democrats get a president in office, that Republicans aren’t going to do the same thing?” Fagan said.

Another hot-button issue Whitely asked both candidates about was whether they thought Minnesota senator Al Franken should have resigned after sexual harassment allegations arose.

Fagan spoke of a reckoning occurring for women who have been silenced then transitioned to discussing restorative justice. She repeatedly said she did not know the answer before reaching a yes-or-no response to Franken’s resignation.

“I would lean yes,” Fagan said. “I think a lot of women, we’ve really just had enough and we just want to live in an environment that we’re not in danger. I think anyone that proves to be a danger to us, maybe they do need to go.”

Linsey Fagan responds to a question at the Democratic Party debate. Rachel Walters 

Fisher answered the Franken question from a political perspective and spoke on the standards applied to Democrats.

“As a representative, yes,” Fisher said. “I’m going to tell you, Democrats, you’re going to be held to a higher standard because what we are telling the Republicans in Congress right now is that they’re screwing up, so we need to make sure that we are holding a high bar for ourselves and our representatives.”

Fisher said that Democrats can’t give Republicans the opportunity to look back and say “Ah, you guys do it too.”

Whitely asked about health care during the debate, with Will Fisher speaking about single-payer health care, which he is a strong proponent for, and Fagan talking about making an argument to Republicans for Medicare-for-all and its inevitability.

A topic both candidates agreed upon was the importance of community college, brought forth by a question about the accessibility of higher education for low-income families due to rising costs.

“My plan is that within the first four years after 2018, I want to see tuition-free community college,” Fisher said. “Community college has one of the highest ROIs so we need to, from a federal perspective, be funding community college degrees and programs.”

Fagan, while touching on the importance of community college, also spoke about Pell Grants and early childhood education expansion.

The debate ended with each of the candidates asking the other their own question. Fagan used her question to ask what Fisher liked about her, eliciting laughter and applause from the audience, while Fisher asked her about her plan to transition to single-payer health care.

UNT English major Joseph Sweeney, who identifies as a Democrat, had seen Fagan before but was disappointed by her performance during the debate, particularly with her response regarding Franken.

“I’ll support whoever wins the primary,” Sweeney said. “Vote for Fisher but if Fagan wins, I will give her my vote.”

Early voting begins Feb. 20 and continues until March 2. The primary election will take place on March 6.

Featured Image: The College Democrats of the University of North Texas and the Denton County Democratic Party held the TX-26 Congressional Debate on Jan. 13. The debate was between Democrats Will Fisher, left, and Linsey Fagan, right. Rachel Walters 

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Lizzy Spangler

Lizzy Spangler

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