Raja, Iovino face off in 37th District Senate Debate at RMU’s Yorktown Hall


Tanner Kreckle

League of Women Voters’ held a debate in Robert Morris University’s Yorktown Hall the night of March 20, 2019.

Tanner Kreckle, Contributor

MOON TOWNSHIP — Pennsylvania State Senator candidate’s Republican D. Raja and Democrat Pam Iovino found themselves in a fairly heated debate Wednesday evening during the 37th District Congressional Debate.

The debate, hosted by Robert Morris University’s Political Science club and the League Of Women’s Voters club, covered a number of topics ranging from abortion to gun control. Some other topics discussed the favored committees the candidates would find themselves in, upon being elected.

The debate attracted a lot of attention, filling the Ferris Ballroom at Robert Morris University’s Yorktown Hall to its maximum capacity.

The two respective candidates discussed various topics brought up by the audience. Candidates also criticized each other’s campaigns, including their advertisements. Iovino made the first jab when she said Raja’s ads were “just disgraceful.”

D. Raja did return ad campaign insults by saying, “My opponent’s ads are plain and simple, dishonest.”

Raja stated Iovino’s ads claiming that he doesn’t pay the minimum wage is a prime example of the dishonesty in the ads.

Things kicked into high gear when major topics were brought to the table. Abortion was the first one, and Raja firmly stated, “I absolutely won’t support late-term abortions.”

When asked her stance, Pam Lovino stated that she wants to see the topic kept private, between the patient and their doctor.

“Show some respect for women,” said Iovino.

Another highly debated topic was gun control and the use of semi-auto weapons.

While D. Raja is opposed to the bump stock attachment, he does not believe that a gun bill would help. In his opinion, the true answer is to work with and treat the mentally ill.

Iovino stated that the gun bill isn’t directly related to the original printed Second Amendment, and they do not cross paths.

She then brought up the National Rifle Association, saying they protect the gun manufacturers, as opposed to the gun owners.

“Citizens do not need semi-automatic guns,” said Iovino.

Recreational marijuana talks stirred the pot. Iovino supports legalizing recreational marijuana under certain and strict laws and regulations.

Iovino pushed for “strict requirements based off the medical marijuana guidelines.”

Raja, on the other hand, disagreed.

“I have two daughters at home, I don’t support the legalization for recreational use,” said Raja. “It’s a slippery slope; we have enough opiate problems to handle.”

This led to further conversation about the ongoing opiate issues as of recent. Both candidates agreed on this topic.

“This is a topic that is killing us,” said Iovino.

When the debate came to a close, both parties gave closing statements, followed by applause from the audience and the final handshake before both candidates split off.

Candidates stayed to greet anyone who wished to chat and waited around after the debate. The special election will be held April 2.

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