WTKR Channel 3 News Anchor, Barbara Ciara, moderated “Can Democracy Be Repaired This Campaign Season?” a Halloween town hall hosted by Hampton University’s (HU), Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communication.
District 2, Republican candidate for Virginia delegate, Gary Byler, sat along side Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Independent Bill Thomas, HU Associate Vice President for Governmental Relations during phase one of the event.
The discussion began with harsh criticism by Ciara about division in Washington and the 16 day government shutdown which ended up costing the US economy over $24 billion.
Congressman Scott quickly charged Republicans for their “unnecessary shenanigans” that led to the shutdown. Candidate Byler strongly disagreed and pointed his finger at the Congressman blaming “the government’s constant misuse of tax payer dollars.”
Issues concerning transportation, education, and gun violence brought out the most passion in the panelists. Congressman Scott touted his early support for gun control and made mention to legislation aimed at requiring background checks for gun buyers and owners. He later told The Virginia Vibe “I couldn’t get one Republican to sign on to this legislation.”
In contrast Byler agreed that gun violence was a problem, but says “We can increase funding for mental illness studies and I believe we should focus more on mental illness, not on gun control.”
Phase two of the discussion included Reagan George of the Northern Virginia Tea Party, Dr. Mamie Locke, of the Virginia State Senate (District 2) , and Carl Anderson, Chair of the Republican Party of Hampton. Watch the full town hall when it airs next week on wtkr.com.