The candidates for U.S. Senate took on new issues in their second and final debate today.
The debate took place in Eastern Washington, but the issues discussed affect the entire state.
Democrat Maria Cantwell is seeking her fourth term in the Senate. Republican Susan Hutchison is a former KIRO 7 News anchor and former chairperson of the state Republican Party.
They faced off in Spokane, where President Trump's tariffs are affecting eastern Washington's agriculture industry.
“Tariffs are a tool and I believe the President is using them in order to get the Chinese to the table,” said Hutchison
“What I worry about is farmers losing shelf space while this debate goes on for another year or so," Cantwell said. "Does some farm not make it through the season? Does somebody lose shelf space and next year when they go back somebody else, Australia, has got the market space and they don't want to buy from us,” she added.
Hutchison said she's spoken with farmers. “They said they're willing to accept short-term pain for long-term gain.”
“I think tariffs are a last resort, not a first resort,” Cantwell responded.
This summer's wildfires are a big issue in eastern Washington.
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“What we're talking about is colossal, catastrophic fires that are totally to blame because Senator Cantwell, at least 14 times and maybe more, has blocked all efforts to have intelligent logging and reforms of our good forestry management."
But Cantwell said she worked with Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration to reduce fuels by increasing logging.
“People like Vaagen Brothers Mills here in the northwest who said, 'Maria this is the way to go, pursue this. Talk about taking the timber that you are going to harvest and put it into cross-laminated timber. That way people will see it's going for a dual purpose of reducing fuel and helping us for the future.'”
They also disagree on the issue of withholding federal law enforcement money from sanctuary cities.
“They are on the front line of this crisis and they want to go after the people who are really responsible, and they are doing that, but we shouldn't take away their resources,” Cantwell said.
Hutchison responded, “I don't think that sanctuary cities is beneficial to the whole discussion of immigration reform, which certainly does need reform.”
Sen. Cantwell came out of the August primary with 55% of the vote. Whether the impact from this debate changes her lead has yet to be decided.
Cox Media Group