Himes and Stevenson debate abortion and education

Both candidates from Connecticut’s 4th congressional district agree that protecting access to abortion is important. But during a debate Thursday night in Norwalk, Republican challenger Jayme Stevenson said incumbent Democrat Jim Himes hadn’t done enough to codify the Roe vs. Wade protections into federal law.

“If you’re looking to make change in Washington … you start by electing Republicans who have common sense and understand the importance of these issues,” Stevenson said. “As a woman, I know these issues. I am passionate about these issues.

Himes said Republicans have led efforts to reduce access to abortion.

“‘Hutzpah’ is a Republican candidate attacking a Democrat for not codifying Roe v. Wade while the Republican Party – and they make no bones about it, it’s not a Democrat speaking – the Republican Party s engaged in a two-generation, 50-year effort to overturn Roe v. Wade, and they succeeded,” Himes said.

If elected, Stevenson said she could moderate her party’s positions on abortion.

Dealing with the costs of higher education

Both candidates agreed that more Americans needed to consider alternatives to four-year colleges as costs soared.

Himes, a Harvard graduate, said too many people ignore the value of the training offered in apprenticeship programs.

“I think we need to focus a lot more on community colleges, on apprenticeship programs that give young people — for whom college isn’t necessarily the right thing — the ability to be firmly in the middle class knowing that their jobs are not at risk of being exported overseas,” Himes said.

Stevenson said federal student loan programs are inflating prices at colleges.

“There is no incentive for four-year institutions to keep their prices reasonable and affordable for students,” she said.

Stevenson said the Biden administration’s decision to write off some student loan debt is the wrong way to contain costs.

About the candidates

Himes joined the United States House of Representatives in 2009. He served on the Financial Services Committee and the Standing Committee on Intelligence. Himes was born in Peru, attended Harvard University, and is a former Rhodes Scholar.

Stevenson served 10 years as Darien’s first coach. She said she will “bring bipartisan solutions to Congress” and work to restore and preserve the freedoms that “enable every American to pursue happiness.”

This story was originally published on October 13, 2022 by Connecticut Public.

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