Wallace and Fitzpatrick Hold Final Debate at Lower Bucks Campus

John Fey, Centurion Staff

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On Thursday, Oct. 25., the final debate was held between Republican congressional incumbent, Brian Fitzpatrick, and Democrat Scott Wallace. The debate took place on Fitzpatrick’s lower Bucks home turf at Bucks’ Bristol campus. The debate concerned who would get their seat representing the 1st district after the election on Nov. 6.
Upon entering the campus, many who came to hear political discourse between the two Bucks County politicians could see political divide amongst some of those in attendance.
The entrance to the Bristol campus had been covered in “Wallace for U.S. Congress” and “Ditch Fitz” signs that had been put up by Wallace supporters. The signs were taken down by agitated Fitzpatrick supporters, but not without some confrontation by Wallace supporters holding more signs bearing his name.
Chairman of the Historic Bristol Borough Economic Development Committee, and Professor of American history and government, Bill Pezza, served as the moderator of the debate.

The debate began around 12:20 p.m. when Wallace and Fitzpatrick took the stage and uncomfortably shook hands. This debate followed the one held at the Shir Ami synagogue in Newtown on Oct. 14, where Wallace became frustrated and used an expletive in front of the audience.
The debate started off with both candidates discussing their backgrounds and credentials.
Wallace discussed his family’s past in American politics and Fitzpatrick talked about his time in the FBI and his origins in Levittown.
“I’ve lived here my entire life,” said Fitzpatrick. The conversation started to involve the talk of partisanship in modern politics. “It’s bipartisan vs. partisan,” said Fitzpatrick. He urged Wallace to not use the “us vs. them” mentality when discussing the Democrats and Republicans.
Pezza during this discussion said, “We don’t want to turn this into a pep rally,” acknowledging the political divide amongst many people in the audience.
There were two visible MAGA hats and multiple pro-Wallace shirts and hats. Around 12:25, Pezza brought the discussion into the topic of President Trump’s political rhetoric and the rhetoric of some Democrats like Maxine Waters, who has called for the public harassment of Trump and Republican supporters and politicians. He asked the two “How did we get to this place and how do we get back?”
Wallace responded with “I think there is a way back,” and went on to discuss how Trump’s rhetoric is damaging to the country’s political landscape and the country itself. He mentioned how one can talk to real people in this country and see that most people just want to be able to talk to each other normally.
Fitzpatrick responded in a similar fashion, while not giving his party as harsh an analysis.
“The biggest challenge facing this country is the way we talk to each other,” he said.
Fitzpatrick continued, “We stand for what’s right.”
Wallace brought the discussion over to Paul Ryan, who Fitzpatrick has worked with in the past and vocally supported. This took a turn as Fitzpatrick mentioned Wallace’s use of choice words at Shir Ami during the previous debate. Hisses from Wallace supporters ensued, a reminder of the political divide sitting quietly in the audience.
The debate then shifted to healthcare in America. Wallace strongly opposes the moves Trump is making to abolish Obamacare and defended the individual mandate that many Republicans oppose.
“The individual mandate is not a poor tax,” Wallace said.
Fitzpatrick opposed this, speaking of how he feels Obamacare has harmed more people than it has helped.
The debate then shifted to the economy.
Wallace mentioned his own wealth and he discussed how he’s been able to stay above water in hard financial times.
Wallace is a multimillionaire. This statement of his wealth was received negatively by Fitzpatrick campaigners standing toward the back of the audience.
As the conversation went on, Fitzpatrick mentioned Wallace’s financial ties to Washington, which Wallace did not take lightly, “I am not going to play these games,” he said.
Wallace mentioned that he doesn’t want to get involved in the “smear and distract” tactics of modern politics.
Pezza turned the conversation to the deficit of the country. Fitzpatrick responded saying, “That answer is all dependent on our growth and our economy.”
As the debate continued, Wallace mentioned Paul Ryan a few more times, making the claim that Fitzpatrick was defending Ryan and Trump at every opportunity he could. Fitzpatrick made the claim that Wallace was “obsessed” on the topic of Ryan.
On the issue of climate change, both find that it is a national security issue, but Fitzpatrick doesn’t think the regulations that come with it should exist.
The debate lasted a few more minutes, with the topics of foreign relations and immigration coming up. The hot button issue of Israel and the U.S. embassy being moved to Jerusalem came up, with Wallace opposing the idea of it and Fitzpatrick stating “Personally, I support that decision.”
The debate came to a close around 1:30 p.m., with both candidates making closing statements on why they are the right choice. Wallace spoke to some of the media while Fitzpatrick talked to campaigners and supporters.
As many left the campus, the signs previously scattered about in front of the school had all been uprooted, leaving no trace of sign of the political discourse that had been so prevalent on the Bristol campus that day.

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