ROUND TWO

Maxwell and Lewis face off for the sec­ond time for the 74th District seat

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Adam Farence afarence@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @afarence on Twit­ter

Both can­di­dates called for im­prov­ing re­la­tion­ships be­tween the com­mu­nity and the po­lice. Maxwell specif­i­cally ref­er­enced a walk he said he or­ga­nized with a lo­cal pas­tor to help im­prove re­la­tion­ships.

COATESVILLE >> Down­ing­town Mayor Josh Maxwell faced off against in­cum­bent state Rep. Harry Lewis Jr. at the Coatesville Area Se­nior Cen­ter on Satur­day dur­ing a de­bate that high­lighted mul­ti­ple dif­fer­ences be­tween the two can­di­dates.

Maxwell, a Demo­crat, is chal­leng­ing Lewis, a Caln Repub­li­can, for his seat in the 74th Leg­isla­tive District.

Law en­force­ment

Both can­di­dates called for im­prov­ing re­la­tion­ships be­tween the com­mu­nity and the po­lice. Maxwell specif­i­cally ref­er­enced a walk he said he or­ga­nized with a lo­cal pas­tor to help im­prove re­la­tion­ships.

“We’re lucky to have a lot of re­ally good po­lice of­fi­cers in the area, but we do have some bad ap­ples,” he said.

“There are bad ap­ples in ev­ery­thing,” said Lewis. He called for look­ing past those par­tic­u­lar ex­am­ples, and called for in­creas­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the com­mu­nity and po-

lice. He also said there is more good in Coatesville than bad.

Vol­un­teer fire ser­vice

When asked about sup­port­ing vol­un­teer fire com­pa­nies strug­gling to re­tain vol­un­teers, both can­di­dates talked about cre­at­ing in­cen­tives to help fire com­pa­nies re­tain vol­un­teers.

Lewis talked specif­i­cally about work­ing with lo­cal school dis­tricts and get­ting young adults in­ter­ested in vol­un­teer­ing.

Ed­u­ca­tion

When asked about ed­u­ca­tion, Maxwell called for in­creased fund­ing for ed­u­ca­tion, and said he wanted to give ev­ery child early ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties. He also spoke about us­ing non­prof­its to help im­prove ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Lewis took the mo­ment to talk about Down­ing­town’s low tax base be­cause of the num­ber of busi­nesses there and com­pared that to Coatesville. He spoke about bring­ing busi­nesses to help al­le­vi­ate taxes and sup­port ed­u­ca­tion.

Mar­i­juana re­form

Lewis said he voted against the use of mar­i­juana, and said he would con­tinue to do so un­til the states and fed­eral gov­ern­ment reached an agree­ment on how the drug should be han­dled.

Maxwell said he sup­ports the use of med­i­cal mar­i­juana pre­scribed by a doc­tor to help pa­tients suf­fer­ing from ail­ments like PTSD and can­cer. He said he sup­ported de­crim­i­nal­iza­tion of the drug, but stopped short of ad­vo­cat­ing for full-blown le­gal­iza­tion.

“There are peo­ple in the com­mu­nity who need it,” Maxwell said.

He drew generic ex­am­ples of young adults get­ting ar­rested for us­ing or pos­sess­ing the drug, and hav­ing records fol­low them their en­tire lives.

Opi­oid epi­demic

“Opi­oids and mar­i­juana, in my opin­ion, are the same,” Lewis said when asked about what he would do about the opi­oid epi­demic. He spoke broadly about the sever­ity of the is­sue.

“I want to make a strong point here; drug ad­dic­tion should be treated as a dis­ease, not a crime,” Maxwell said. He spoke about a 17 year-old who he said ended up in jail and is miss­ing school be­cause of drug use, in­stead of get­ting treated.

Pro-choice vs. Pro-life

Lewis said he is pro-life, but uses com­mon sense when it comes women.

“I am on top of this to use com­mon sense when it comes to women’s rights,” he said, and ref­er­enced his fe­male fam­ily mem­bers, but did not of­fer any specifics.

Maxwell gen­er­ally tried to stay away from the is­sue, say­ing he be­lieved he had no role in mak­ing de­ci­sions about women’s health, but said he sub­scribed to more of a pro-choice mind­set.

Busi­ness vs. Home­own­ers

When ques­tions al­lud­ing to the in­stal­la­tion of a pipe­line across the county, Lewis ad­vo­cated his gen­eral sup­port for busi­nesses like that to come into the county, say­ing it cre­ates jobs and pro­vides ad­di­tional sources of rev­enue for lo­cal gov­ern­ment.

Maxwell dis­agreed and ad­vo­cated for an ex­pan­sion of lo­cal gov­ern­ments’ au­thor­ity to stand up to so­called big busi­ness.

Or­ga­nized la­bor

Both can­di­dates said they sup­ported worker’s rights to union­ize. Maxwell cited his en­dorse­ment from the AFL-CIO, and said he sup­ported rais­ing the min­i­mum wage. Lewis said he had the sup­port from the la­bor com­mu­nity, but cited no en­dorse­ments. He talked about the im­por­tance of la­bor in the com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing pre­par­ing young chil­dren for the work­force.

State leg­is­la­ture

Maxwell said he sup­ported both re­duc­ing the size and salaries of mem­bers of the state Leg­is­la­ture, and said the he would not use per diems. “I would turn down per diems a lot of leg­is­la­tors use and abuse,” he said.

Lewis, on the other hand, told the au­di­ence that “we earn the money that we are paid,” and that if the num­ber of leg­is­la­tors were re­duced, their con­stituents would re­ceive less rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

Lewis also claimed he did not take per diems, but Maxwell ar­gued that the rep­re­sen­ta­tive did and put doc­u­men­ta­tion from the state House Of­fice of Comp­trol­ler on his web­site to prove it.

Ac­cord­ing to bal­lot­pe­dia. org, state leg­is­la­tors re­ceive a salary of $85,339 a year, and a per diem of $175 a day. Penn­syl­va­nia law­mak­ers are the sec­ond high­est paid in the na­tion, fol­low­ing Cal­i­for­nia.

Prison sys­tem

When asked about the state prison sys­tem, Maxwell said he thought too many peo­ple were in prison for non­vi­o­lent crime, and also crit­i­cized the pri­vate prison sys­tem, crit­i­cism which in­cluded leas­ing out prison beds to other states so the sys­tem could make more money.

On that sub­ject, Lewis spoke broadly, say­ing that “we do have a lot of peo­ple in prison who prob­a­bly should not be there.”

The de­bate, which was hosted by the League of Women Vot­ers, con­cluded shortly be­fore 1:30 p.m.

The 74th District en­com­passes Caln, Coatesville, Down­ing­town, East Caln, East Fal­low­field, Mo­dena, Parkes­burg, South Coatesville, Sads­bury and Val­ley. The 74th District was cre­ated in 2013 as the new­est leg­isla­tive district in Ch­ester County, added be­cause of in­creases in county pop­u­la­tion. Elec­tion Day in Nov. 8.

“I want to make a strong point here; drug ad­dic­tion should be treated as a dis­ease, not a crime.” — Down­ing­town Mayor Josh Maxwell “We do have a lot of peo­ple in prison who prob­a­bly should not be there.” — State Rep. Harry Lewis Jr.

ADAM FARENCE — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Josh Maxwell, the cur­rent Demo­cratic mayor of Down­ing­town, and Repub­li­can in­cum­bent state Rep. Harry Lewis Jr. de­bated each other Satur­day. They are both run­ning for the 74th Leg­isla­tive District seat in the Nov. 8 elec­tion.

Both Down­ing­town Mayor Josh Maxwell and state Rep. Harry Lewis Jr. hung around af­ter the de­bate was fin­ished Satur­day and chat­ted with likely vot­ers.

ADAM FARENCE — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Well over 100 peo­ple at­tended the de­bate, and at some points there was stand­ing-roomonly at the Coatesville Area Se­nior Cen­ter. Here, can­di­dates talked with likely vot­ers af­ter the de­bate.

State Rep. Harry Lewis Jr., R-74, of Caln

ADAM FARENCE — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Down­ing­town Mayor Josh Maxwell, a Demo­crat

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