Lexington County Candidates for Congress Debate Abortion, Marijuana Punishment

Posted 10/25/22

The two candidates squaring off to represent Lexington County in the U.S. House of Representatives debated Oct. 24.

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Lexington County Candidates for Congress Debate Abortion, Marijuana Punishment


The two candidates squaring off to represent Lexington County in the U.S. House of Representatives debated Oct. 24.

Incumbent Republican Joe Wilson and Democrat candidate Judd Larkins, contesting Nov. 8 for South Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District, met at the River Bluff Performing Arts Center where they answered questions from students in the school’s Center for Law and Global Policy Development.

Questions were asked by Bryson Harry, president of the school ‘s Young Democrats of River, Tate Sweatt of the school’s Teenage Republican Society, and Kyleigh Mills of the school’s Independent Party. Moderating was The Post and Courier’s Avery Wilks.

Surrounding the questions, both Wilson and Larkins were given time to make opening and closing statements.

Wilson said Republicans stand for limited government, expanding freedom, energy independence, and peace through strength. He also told the audience that Republicans mean jobs, a phrase he repeated throughout.

“I really want to continue working for a strong national defense and I will restate again, that American families have never been at a greater risk of attack by terrorists than this moment,” Wilson said during his closing statement.

Larkins said his goals include securing the future for young and old generations, tackling the cost of living, inflation, gas and grocery prices, and strengthening social security and medicare.

“My vision is that we get away from this partisan politics. Folks want an American solution, not a Democratic solution, not a Republican solution, an American solution that works.” Larkins said during his closing statement.

The candidates were asked if they would support Sen. Lindsey Graham's proposed federal ban on abortion.

Larkins said he does not support the federal ban and would rather have Roe vs. Wade reinstated based on the current medical standard of viability. 

Wilson said he supports the ban, saying many Americans support limitations on abortion; he put an emphasis on late-term abortions, saying it means infanticide and killing babies.

The candidates had differing opinions about jail time from marijuana possession. Wilson said legalizing marijuana “sends a bad message” since the law is being enforced and then ignored.  Larkin proposed making marijuana regulations similar to current alcohol laws and to keep the production local.

“I do not want to see Chinese-owned farms like that in other agriculture, as well as big corporations in the distribution and selling,” Larkins said.

The candidates also had opposing views on capital punishment, Wilson said he supports it, as it keeps murderers from killing again. Larkins said he believes that life imprisonment without parole also precludes that possibility and that capital punishment is not a deterrent.

When President Joe Biden's student loan relief was brought up, Wilson said it is not reducing student loans, just shifting the debt, while Larkins told the audience that it is just a Band Aid rather than a solution.

When discussing the minimum wage, neither candidate provided an answer for what they think the minimum wage should be. Wilson said it’s an issue for the state government, not the federal. He went on to say what works and is successful in New York or California is not applicable to the people of South Carolina. 

Larkins said you won’t find employees for the current minimum wage of $7.25. Wilson agreed, adding that the number is irrelevant. Larkins proposed a methodical increase in the minimum wage so that business and price increases can be adjusted accordingly.

The candidates were largely in agreement when it came to election security and gun laws, with both saying they support the Second Amendment and have faith in South Carolina’s elections. They also agreed that China is the largest threat to the United States and that Taiwan should remain independent. Both said the border needs to be more secure.

rep. joe wilson, congress candidate judd larkins, lexington county representative, november election


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