Campus holds final governor’s debate

Candidates discuss social issues, health care

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Junior political science and economics double major, Rachel Johnson has a microphone put on her dress minutes before channel 14 News aired Midday with Mike Tuesday morning in the Performance Center. Johnson and Vergilio Paulino a junior political science and philosophy double major with a pre-law minor spoke about the election and talked about the advice they would give to the presidential candidates.

Junior political science and economics double major, Rachel Johnson has a microphone put on her dress minutes before channel 14 News aired Midday with Mike Tuesday morning in the Performance Center. Johnson and Vergilio Paulino a junior political science and philosophy double major with a pre-law minor spoke about the election and talked about the advice they would give to the presidential candidates.

The University Performance Center hosted the third and final gubernatorial debate Tuesday night.

Libertarian candidate Rex Bell, Democratic candidate John Gregg and Republican candidate Eric Holcomb squared off in the final debate before voters go to the polls Nov. 8 to pick the next Indiana governor.

The debate focused on health and social issues with the previous debates centering on Education and the Economy.

The moderator for the debate, Mizell Stuart III, is a news executive with Gannett and the USA Today Network. He was an editor at the Evansville Courier & Press from 2007 to 2012.

The debate began with Stewart and the candidates commending each other on the civility of the previous debates and the campaigns.

It quickly delved into a policy debate as questions were taken from audience members on community health and social issues affecting the state.

“My plan for Indiana is to get government out of the way,” Bell said.

Bell, whose two children graduated from the university, said much of the social issues are up to society to change and not the government.

Bell’s carried this same demeanor into his disapproval of Indiana’s decades-old ban on Sunday carryout alcohol sales.

“I’ve always maintained that anything that is legal on Saturday should be legal on Sunday,” he said.

Bell’s opponent, John Gregg, holds a similar approach to government involvement on social issues.

Gregg said he supports the legalization of medical marijuana and believes drug abusers should not be thrown in jail but be given rehabilitation treatment.

Gregg said he identifies as a pro-life democrat on a personal level, but will continue to support abortion laws and Planned Parenthood.

“Our plan is based on what is best for Indiana, not ideology,” he said.

Gregg said at a post-debate press conference that he did not understand why there were no specific questions asked regarding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which “prohibits a governmental entity from substantially burdening a person’s exercise of religion.”

The law has come under scrutiny by people who view it as a law which suppresses the rights of members of the LGBT community.

“I believe all Hoosiers deserve better,” Gregg said.

Gregg also challenged republican candidate Holcomb for not having a clear, specific policy on infrastructure.

Holcomb responded to the allegations, saying Gregg is a hypocrite for saying he has no specific plans for infrastructure policy. He said they went from talking about infrastructure to building infrastructure as Lieutenant Governor.

Holcomb also responded to Gregg’s call to repeal the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

“For him to state that unilaterally is just not in the job description,” he said.

Holcomb said he has confidence in the security and fairness of the election despite reports about names and birth dates being changed for online voter registrations.

“I have absolute confidence (in the fairness of the election),” he said.

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