WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — With three weeks until the general election, News 8 hosted a debate between the candidates vying to represent Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District.
Hayes was first elected to office in 2018, becoming the first African-American woman to represent Connecticut in Congress. She currently sits on the House of Representatives committees for education, labor, and agriculture.
Logan is a former two-term state senator in the 17th district who immigrated from Guatemala. He is a government affairs official for a water company in the state.
News 8’s chief political anchor Dennis House served as the moderator of Tuesday’s debate. Join the conversation on social media by using #CTFIFTHDEBATE.
If you missed the debate, click here to watch it in its entirety.
The 5th Congressional District covers 41 cities and towns in Fairfield, Litchfield, New Haven, and Hartford counties.
Topics ranged from education to immigration and crime.
In the wake of the deaths of two Bristol police officers, the candidates were asked if there should be a national ban on AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifles and similar guns.
“There is no chance for a police officer against someone who can fire 80 rounds in a matter of minutes,” Hayes said. “There is no reason for those weapons of war to be in our communities.”
“My prayers go out to the families of Sgt. [Dustin] DeMonte, Officer [Alex] Hamzy,” Logan said. “Their loss is just something that I can’t even imagine. And also for a quick recovery for Officer [Alec] Iurato. We need to support our law enforcement. I’m the only one on the stage who has been consistent in supporting our law enforcement.”
Marijuana is legal in Connecticut, and retail sales should start by the end of the year. Earlier this month, President Joe Biden pardoned thousands of people convicted of simple marijuana possession under federal law. The candidates were asked if marijuana should be decriminalized federally.
“We need to make sure that we are addressing the issue of crime in our communities and the opioid epidemic that is hurting our communities,” Logan said. “We need some action. My opponent has been silent on the opioid epidemic we have here in Connecticut.“
“I don’t have to respond to Mr. Logan,” Hayes responded. “There is nothing he can lecture me about on families being ripped apart by addiction and abuse. I am the product of that, and I know what it does to every part of a family.“
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, wiping out the constitutional right to an abortion. Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) quickly reassured women in the state that their right to choose would not be affected by the court’s decision. Hayes and Logan clarified their positions on abortion rights.
“It’s not for me to decide. We’ve had people come before Congress at various stages of pregnancy with many different issues,” Hayes said. “I hate that women are sharing their abortion stories or talking about how they lost a child. It’s none of anybody’s business. I don’t have to tell anybody why I made the choice to keep or not keep a child.”
“My opponent’s all over the place. Today, she says she’s opposed to late-term abortions. In previous interviews, she indicated that the timing doesn’t matter. Which is it? When it comes to a federal ban on abortion, I have consistently said that I am not in favor of a federal ban on abortion.”
VIDEO: George Logan and Jahana Hayes deliver remarks following the debate
The Capitol Report’s Tom Dudchik, Democrat Joe Aresimowicz, and Republican John McKinney provided an analysis of the debate.