Home Politics Elections Election 2018 4 things to know from Steve Stivers and Rick Neal’s Tuesday debate

4 things to know from Steve Stivers and Rick Neal’s Tuesday debate

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Ohio’s 15th Congressional District candidates discuss immigration, Roe v. Wade, and more

Ohio’s 15th Congressional District candidates Steve Stivers and Rick Neal battled it out Tuesday evening at Ohio University.

The debate took place at Nelson dining hall and was moderated by Ohio U alumni Joe Hallet, a former reporter for the Columbus Dispatch, Plain Dealer, and Toledo Blade.

The candidates had two minutes to respond to questions from the audience. Here are a few takeaways from the event.

Social Security

When asked if he’d raise the retirement age to make Social Security more sustainable, Neal said he would not support that and added that he is running for Congress to protect Social Security.

“Social Security is a retirement plan we pay into so that we’ll have the money we need when we’re older to for a dignified and secured retirement,” Neal said. “And that is not gonna change in a Democrat controlled Congress.”

To make it sustainable, Neal wants to get rid of the income cap that prevents individuals who make more than $124,000 from paying taxes into Social Security.

Stivers said he is willing to raise the cap — not do away with it — and cut benefits for millionaires and billionaires, which will save money.

“That is the way Social Security is intended,” Stivers said. “It is not a retirement plan; it was never intended as one. If we do nothing or do Rick’s plan, it will go bankrupt.”


Both candidates said they would oppose President Donald Trump’s executive order to end birthright citizenship as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment if elected. Neal used the opportunity to attack Trump on his “fake immigrant problem.”

Stivers, however, wants to fix the immigration problem.

“That means manpower, technology, and in some cases, a physical barrier,” Stivers said.

Roe v. Wade

“Roe v. Wade is settled law, and if we see any attempt by this new Supreme Court — or any part of our court system — to overturn it, we need to oppose it,” Neal said.

He added that he wants to reduce abortion rates through comprehensive sex education, access to birth control, and implementing better laws around adoption and placing children.

Stivers, on the other hand, said he was anti-abortion, with exceptions for rape, incest, and the health of the mother. He agreed with Neal on needing to reduce abortion rates.

“We can continue to reduce abortion rates without focusing on the things that divide us, but I am pro-life,” Stivers said.

On Trump

When asked if he would vote to impeach Trump should such a resolution reach the floor, Neal was apprehensive.

“The best solution, the most sustainable solution for our country is not impeachment,” he said. “It is letting the people go to the ballot box in 2020 and letting people decide.”

However, he added that if the Special Counsel and Robert Mueller presents charges, he’ll do his job.

When asked what advice he’d give to Trump, Stivers said: “I have not always agreed with the way the president treats people. I spoke up on the first Muslim ban. I spoke up on his comments on Charlottesville. I have spoken up on family separation and gotten the policy change.”

His advice to the president would be to “treat people the way you want to be treated.”

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