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The Orion

Congressional candidates speak at Chico State on issues facing first district voters

Candidate (left to right) Jessica Holcombe(D) , Marty Walters (D), Gregory Cheadle (R), David Peterson (D), Lewis Elbinger (D) and Audrey Denney (D) answer questions at open forum held at Chico State Monday. Photo credit: Carly Maxstone

The Butte County League of Women Voters hosted a Q&A forum that featured candidates running for the First Congressional District election primaries coming up this June. The candidates answered a few questions on a variety of issues and expressed their platform stance on various topics.

Six candidates attended and included one Green Party member, one Republican and four Democrats:

  1. Jessica Holcombe – Democrat
  2. Marty Walters – Democrat
  3. Gregory Cheadle – Republican
  4. David Peterson – Democrat
  5. Lewis Elbinger – Green Party
  6. Audrey Denney – Democrat
Audrey Denney.jpg
Audrey Denney introduces herself and her platform goals to the crowd in Performing Arts Center 144 Monday night. Photo credit: Carly Maxstone

Debra Barger, the LWV’s president helped arrange the event to provide each candidate the opportunity to share views on issues facing Butte County voters.

“The LWV is held in high regard for its commitment to fair and unbiased forums,” Barger said.

Debra Barger.jpg
Butte County League of Women Voters President Debra Barger reads off the rules and guidelines to the forum. Barger also helped moderate the forum. Photo credit: Carly Maxstone

The questions asked ranged from funding issues relating to the Oroville Dam to stances on gun control.

The candidates were given one minute to respond to questions presented from local media and citizens.

Journalist Panel.jpg
Three media outlets joined the candidates on stage to ask various questions. (Left to right) Grayson Boyer from The Orion, Risa Johnson from the Chico Enterprise Record and Ashiah Scharaga from the Chico News and Review listen to candidates answer questions. Photo credit: Carly Maxstone

When asked about whether the president should authorize attacks on other countries without congressional approval, all of the candidates unanimously disagreed the president should not act on his own and needs congressional approval.

“It seems to me, what I would call a no-brainer,” Elbinger said. “War should be the last resort, not the first resort.”

Lewis Elbinger.jpg
Green Party Candidate Lewis Elbinger speaks about being an alternative, independent option from the traditional Democratic and Republican options. Photo credit: Carly Maxstone

The candidates’ agreement on many topics was a trend seen in many of the questions, except for issues like illegal immigration and gun control.

When asked about the future of undocumented individuals in California, Cheadle took a different stance on the issue, stating that, “we need to take care of home, first.”

“Blacks in this country have been given the back of the bus for too dog-gone long. Everyone who comes over here and kicks us further off the bus, and now things like this throw us under,” Cheadle said.

Gregory Cheadle Speaks.jpg
Gregory Cheadle speaks about how he's not running as a traditional Republican but rather "as an 1856 Republican," because he says he's, "not about the party and I'm not about profits." Photo credit: Carly Maxstone

The other candidates on the panel all agreed to help out and push for policies that would improve the lives of undocumented immigrants.

When asked about gun control, Cheadle also took a different stance than his counterparts on the panel. The other five candidates all took pro-gun control stances.

“When there is a mass shooting with whites, there is uproar. More blacks are killed in a week, than all these whites who are killed in these mass shootings. Yet the emphasis goes to white,” Cheadle said. “We need to focus on the inner cities first and deal with that first.

The event lasted 90 minutes and LWV will hold its next forum with Butte County supervisor district candidates on May 9 at Marsh Junior High School in Chico.

The entire forum can be found on video on the LWV website.

Roberto Fonseca can be reached at [email protected] or @rjfonseca on Twitter.

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