US Senate candidates square off in sole Western MA debate - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

US Senate candidates square off in sole Western MA debate

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From national issues like gun control to local issues like unemployment in Western Mass, Democrat Ed Markey and Republican Gabriel Gomez did not agree on much Tuesday night in their second of three debates.

"They don't trust what's going on in D.C. and you can understand why," Gomez said at one point, referring to the National Security Agency's surveillance controversy.  

"While we have to be tough on terrorism, we cannot step on the constitution," Markey said of the controversy.

The two had different perspectives on how to aid Western Mass' jobless numbers.

Markey favors more government intervention like funding for Union Station and the Life Sciences building at UMass as well as a statewide rail line.

"As we improve the rail line we also improve the likelihood that we are going to see economic activity that is brought out here to Western Massachusetts that continues to lower a too high unemployment rate," he said.

Gomez turned his focus to the private sector.

"With a lower corporate tax rate, we can actually have companies that will have more money to invest not only in themselves, their people, but in hiring people as well. Also I would go for having more trade agreements."

A Suffolk University poll shows Markey seven points ahead of Gomez. Gomez told reporters after the debate he's not worried.

"I'm not surprised that these polls have tightened, that I'm going up and he's going down," Gomez said.

Markey will have the support of the president at a rally in Boston Wednesday.

"President Obama is coming in for me and I share his values," said Markey.

After the debate, the two did agree on one thing - the stark differences between their stances.

"Who's actually going to reach across the aisle and get these things done, and more importantly who is going to put the people first above party and politics," Gomez said.

"Tonight I think the voters could see the real differences on many of these issues," Markey said.

The two will debate again next week in Eastern Mass for their third and final debate.

The special election will be held on June 25.

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