NEW BOSTON — Republican candidates Marilinda Garcia and Gary Lambert — competing for the 2nd Congressional District seat held by Democrat Annie Kuster — debated each other at the Whipple Free Library in New Boston Thursday night.
Moderator Rich Girard from the Girard at Large radio program immediately opened questions up to the several dozen audience members, who mainly wanted to know how the candidates intend to win against Kuster, and how they would overcome Washington D.C. gridlock.
Lambert, 54, said though it is a Democratic district, it can be won.
"This woman can be beat, but don't think it's going to be a pushover," he said of Kuster.
He added: "Folks are hungry. The voters are starving for leaders, people they can trust, they can follow."
Thirty-one-year-old Garcia of Salem is a state representative in her fourth term in the New Hampshire House.
"I am passionate about preaching the message about the equality of opportunity," Garcia said. As Americans, "that's what makes us exceptional."
At the state level, Garcia said she has worked to open the free market in health care and in the innovation economy, and would continue to do so if elected to Congress.
Lambert said the election is about winning over the middle class.
"We come across as the party of the rich. We need to win the middle class; that's the bottom line," Lambert said.
The Nashua resident left his state Senate seat in 2012 after one term to return to active duty as a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve.
He is retiring from the Marines in June.
"I am not ready to stop serving my country. That's why I am running," he said.
Both candidates have made the pledge not to support the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in any form, including and not limited to Medicaid expansion.
Garcia said Obamacare is being run "more like the DMV and less like Amazon.com."
When asked, both said they would be willing to take a pledge against raising any tax or adding any fees, fines or penalties at the federal level.
Garcia is an adjunct professor of music at Phillips Exeter Academy and said she also works in the cyber-security field. She formerly worked as a court-appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children at the Salem District Court.
Lambert is senior partner at Lambert and Associates, a law firm he founded in 1989 specializing in patent and trademark law.