Congressional debate gets contentious on immigration discussion

Vanessa Enoch, a Democrat from West Chester Twp., and Congressman Warren Davidson, R-Troy, debated this past Thursday evening. FILE PHOTOS

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Vanessa Enoch, a Democrat from West Chester Twp., and Congressman Warren Davidson, R-Troy, debated this past Thursday evening. FILE PHOTOS

There wasn’t much the two candidates for Ohio’s 8th Congressional District agreed on during a debate Thursday, especially the topic of immigration.

Congressman Warren Davidson, R-Troy, and West Chester Twp. Democrat Vanessa Enoch are seeking a two-year term to represent the congressional district seat that was once held by former speaker John Boehner, who resigned in October 2015. That prompted the need for the 2016 special election to fill his unexpired seat.

The debate was the third in a series presented by Miami University and the Journal-News. In addition to immigration, candidates were asked questions about gun control, the federal budget, sexual assault and the opioid crisis.

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Miami University and the Journal-News presented a series of debates this election cycle, including Thursday night’s Oct. 18, 2018 8th Ohio Congressional District debate. Pictured is Vanessa Enoch, a Democrat from West Chester Twp., during Thursday’s debate in the Wilks Conference Center at Miami University Regionals in Hamilton. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Miami University and the Journal-News presented a series of debates this election cycle, including Thursday night’s Oct. 18, 2018 8th Ohio Congressional District debate. Pictured is Vanessa Enoch, a Democrat from West Chester Twp., during Thursday’s debate in the Wilks Conference Center at Miami University Regionals in Hamilton. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
Miami University and the Journal-News presented a series of debates this election cycle, including Thursday night’s Oct. 18, 2018 8th Ohio Congressional District debate. Pictured is Vanessa Enoch, a Democrat from West Chester Twp., during Thursday’s debate in the Wilks Conference Center at Miami University Regionals in Hamilton. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

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Enoch said that while she agrees that the country’s borders need to be secured, in doing so “we have to ensure that the policies that we’re making are humane.”

“I don’t think (immigration) should be a partisan issue as it relates to making humane policy,” said Enoch. “I think this current Congress has made everything a partisan issue, and that’s a concern for me.”

“As far as the immigration policy at the border, absolutely border security is national security,” said Davidson, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. “I wish that was a nonpartisan issue but unfortunately that’s one of the issues, we have to secure the borders. If we can’t detain and arrest people that come here illegally, how will we have a secure border?”

Combined ShapeCaption
Miami University and the Journal-News presented a series of debates this election cycle, including Thursday night’s Oct. 18, 2018 8th Ohio Congressional District debate. Pictured is Congressman Warren Davidson, R-Troy, during Thursday’s debate in the Wilks Conference Center at Miami University Regionals in Hamilton. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Miami University and the Journal-News presented a series of debates this election cycle, including Thursday night’s Oct. 18, 2018 8th Ohio Congressional District debate. Pictured is Congressman Warren Davidson, R-Troy, during Thursday’s debate in the Wilks Conference Center at Miami University Regionals in Hamilton. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
Miami University and the Journal-News presented a series of debates this election cycle, including Thursday night’s Oct. 18, 2018 8th Ohio Congressional District debate. Pictured is Congressman Warren Davidson, R-Troy, during Thursday’s debate in the Wilks Conference Center at Miami University Regionals in Hamilton. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Enoch later pointed out Davidson’s 2016 election — in a year where Trump and many conservatives overwhelmingly won election — was because of a “resistance.” In the March 2016 primary, he bested 14 other Republicans and cruised to election in the June 2016 special and November 2016 general elections.

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“The people who resist are resisting because people aren’t hearing their voices,” she said. “You personally, sir, came to Congress out of a resistance movement. Resistance is as American as apple pie.”

The candidates were also asked about the Trump tax cuts, and when asked about his supporting vote to the Tax Cut and Jobs Act 2017, and the House approved a package of bills dubbed “Tax Reform 2.0” — which includes a measure to make the cuts permanent — Davidson said, “The challenge is that Americans aren’t taxed too little but the country spends too much money.”

“What we really need to do is to prioritize spending,” he said. “Just like in a household budget or a business budget or even a state budget, with the balance budget amendment, you have to prioritize spending. The reality is we’re spending more than five times on interest as we are on infrastructure and we’ve got to change that.”

Enoch, who owns a training and management consulting services company, said the Republican-controlled Congress "didn't consider the impacts to the rest of us," saying the cuts benefit the top 1 percent, and will gut Social Security and Medicare.

“What I would advocate … is to ensure that we continually lift the burden for those of use who are already struggling, and make sure that the wealthiest 1 percent aren’t the only ones benefiting from what’s happening in Washington, D.C.,” she said.

Election Day is Nov. 6, and early voting — which can be done at the county board of elections office or through mail — is underway in Ohio.

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