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U.S. House candidates differ on LGBTQ rights, healthcare issues during debate

Candidates seeking to represent Delaware in the U.S. House of Representatives met for a debate Wednesday night.


Incumbent Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester is defending her seat from Republican challenger Lee Murphy, a former railroad worker and actor.


The two met virtually for a debate Wednesday night, and one heated issue was the topic of protections for Transgender individuals.


Blunt Rochester unequivocally pledges her support to the LGBTQ community.


“And I know that there are a lot of my family and friends in the LGBTQ community who are concered about the rollbacks that this administration has taken on everything from their healthcare to their ability to serve in the military.”



Murphy opposes further protections for transgender individuals, recollecting his time as a womens sports coach.


“I’d like to make decisions who plays on my team. And I do not want a male who identifies as a female to play on my particular girls team. It destroys womens sports.”


A new University of Delaware Center for Political Communication poll shows 81 percent of Delawareans support laws to protect transgender students in schools, and only 11 percent oppose such laws.


The candidates also sparred over other protections, such as the right to an abortion. Murphy states he’s staunchly pro life, while Blunt Rochester made it clear she supports a woman's right to choose.


Both candidates directly addressed Delawareans concerns over healthcare.


Murphy says he’s opposed to the Affordable Care Act, arguing it hasn’t worked out well for Delaware.


“Right here in Delaware we have a situation where we have one health care provider, just one. There’s absolutely no competition here in our state of Delaware.”


Blunt Rochester says no piece of legislation is perfect, the ACA included, but that’s not a reason to throw it out.


“What I’ve witnessed in my time in congress is my Republican colleagues over and over talking about repeal and replace with no replacement. This is the worst time to get rid of healthcare during a pandemic.”


The candidates answered these questions about healthcare as the Supreme Court prepares  to hear a case about the future of the ACA a week after the election.


Blunt Rochester says this election is not just a vote for a candidate, but a vote for the future of healthcare in America.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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