Bucks County Herald

Buckingham hears concerns over police chief appointment

DAVID BARRY

Republican contenders for the U.S. House of Representatives in the May 15 primary squared off in a debate on the Bristol campus of Bucks County Community College May 1.

Squared off is not quite the word. Marine veteran Dean Malik, supported by veterans of the 2016 Trump Campaign, squared off against incumbent U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, who stood in this debate as a moderate.

Before the First District debate began, a message of cvility and mutual respect was delivered by moderator William Rezza, who teaches political science at he college. Rezza asked for adherence to a no-applause, no-cheering rule during the debate.

That rule as broken before the debate began, with loud cheers at the introduction off Dean Malik, and loud boos for Rep. Fitzpatrick.

The debate opened on the subject of compromise. To Brian Fitzpatrick, compromise is a good word. To Malik, it is not.

“It seems compromise has left the political scene,” said Fitzpatrick from his podium on the left of the stage. “Both parties seem entrenched in their viewpoints,” which he said has led to a political stalemate.

“It is not both parties that are entrenched,” Malik retired. “It is only the Democrats. I will fight for what is right for this county and this country. My job as a congressman is to tell the voters what is right for them and lead them to action.”

Fitzpatrick: “My job as a congressman is to listen to my constituents, not lecture them. Your job,” Fitzpatrick addressed to Malik, “is to support proposals that are good for your constituents and oppose those that are bad for them.”

Malik retorted, “I will support the president. I believe he is best for the country.”

The debate continued along a new template of party line: Fitzpatrick, while a committed Republican, was debated by Malik as if he were representing a hostile party, in this case the Republican Party. Malik places himself, though not in so many words, as standing to the right of that party. In the debate, he took positions that were significantly to the right of those supported by President Donald Trump.

Immigration was the most fiery dispute of the debate, which ran just short of an hour.

Fitzpatrick spoke first on this contentious issue, saying that empathy and compassion must be shown to the immigrants labeled as Dreamers. Talking about the young children of Dreamers, whose status in the U.S. is now in limbo, Fitzpatrick said “They’re kids, for crying out loud! We have to protect them. They should not have to live with anxiety. It does no one any good.”

Malik said the opposite.

“To me it’s about the rule of law,” Malik said. “They (Dreamers and their children) have no right to be here. The rule of law is what counts.” To give them a break, Malik said, “is very unfair to Americans. It comes down to enforcing the law.”

That was the essence of the GOP debate.

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