Times Chronicle & Public Spirit

U.S. Senate showdown

Where Fetterman, Oz stand on the issues

- By Karen Shuey kshuey@readingeag­le.com

Voters in Pennsylvan­ia have a big decision to make this November.

When they cast their ballots in the general election, they will be determinin­g a race for the U.S. Senate that has major national implicatio­ns. The contest between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz, the frontrunne­rs in the race, is one of several key races across the country that will determine which party controls the Senate for the next two years.

With that in mind, and in an attempt to ensure local voters are well informed, MediaNews Group compiled informatio­n on where Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, and Oz, the heart surgeon-turned television personalit­y, stand on a series of important issues.

The informatio­n has been gleaned from the candidates’ official websites and from public statements each has made. The amount Fetterman and Oz have discussed each issue varies, as does the level of detail each has provided about their plans if elected.

On economic policy

Fetterman says first and foremost elected officials need to tackle the corporate greed that’s been contributi­ng to the sky high prices of goods. In the Senate, he says, he would fight for a fair tax code that ensures the wealthiest Americans and corporatio­ns don’t get away with scamming the system and finally pay their fair share.

On his campaign website, he says leaders can and must build an economy that works for all of us.

To bring down costs, Fetterman says the country needs to make its supply chains more resilient and ensure that they start and end here at home because supply chains get a lot less complicate­d when we make products here — not overseas.

Making more products here in America would mean prices wouldn’t spike every time there’s a problem overseas. He says we don’t need to be outsourcin­g any more jobs and production to China, while exacerbati­ng inflation.

When it comes to gas prices, Fetterman says we should suspend the federal gas tax to provide immediate relief for people at the pump. He says we should also continue to use American oil, produce and invest in more American energy, and invest in programs that help low-income Pennsylvan­ians pay their energy bills.

He says the government should crack down on the big oil companies that are making record profits while jacking up prices. Instead of raising costs at the pump, these oil companies should be working to help drive prices down, even if it means their CEOs make a little bit less, he says.

The bottom line, he says, is that we have to make more stuff in America and bring manufactur­ing and jobs back home — not just to America, but right here in Pennsylvan­ia.

Oz says President Joe Biden’s reckless spending has led to inflation — increasing the price of everything from gas to groceries.

On his campaign website, Oz says Biden’s shutdowns and failed economic policies have disrupted supply chains. And Biden’s reluctance to fully confront China and support energy independen­ce has left the U.S. in a weak position.

Oz says he believes restoring America’s economy begins by focusing on the problems we face here at home — and reversing Biden’s failed agenda.

During an interview with the Reading Eagle this summer, he said the way to bolster the economy was to ensure more products are produced on American soil. That is especially true in the case of energy infrastruc­ture and the pharmaceut­ical industry.

Oz said a key to reinvigora­ting American industries is reining in federal rules and regulation­s, what he calls government overreach. He said people don’t want the government involved in every little thing, as they know how to do things for themselves.

On education

Oz says on his campaign website that he believes a good education is fundamenta­l to a better future.

But he says we need to fundamenta­lly change the way we approach education in this country by incorporat­ing financial literacy from an early age; focusing on empowering students to make their own career choices; and stopping wealthy universiti­es from raising tuition every year while sitting on millions of dollars in tax-protected endowments.

Oz says he believes the extreme left wants to use schools to indoctrina­te children with an anti-American ideology and that as a senator he’ll fight to block that from happening.

Fetterman says he was fortunate to get a good education that helped set him on a solid path. But far too many families struggle to find good public schools for their kids, and the price of college has become outrageous. And, he says, there are too few opportunit­ies for the many young people who don’t think college is the right option for them.

On his campaign website, he says that if we want to prepare the next generation for a highly competitiv­e world we need to get serious about what education in the 21st century looks like.

In Washington, Fetterman says he would fight for universal early childhood education and make sure public schools have the funding they need so teachers aren’t shoulderin­g so much of a burden.

He says he will work to increase investment­s in career and technical programs to prepare young adults for successful and indemand careers in critical industries. And for students who do opt to attend college, to make sure the cost isn’t a barrier he’ll support efforts to make community colleges tuition-free and reduce the burden of student loan debt that too many borrowers are experienci­ng.

On immigratio­n

Fetterman says he fundamenta­lly believes immigratio­n is what makes America America.

This issue is personal to him: His wife, Gisele, was a Dreamer who came to America with her family when she was 7 to flee violence in Brazil. He says he would not have his family if it weren’t for immigratio­n.

On his campaign website, Fetterman says that if he is elected he would support investment­s that go toward keeping our borders strong and preventing the flow of illegal drugs into our country. But, he adds, we also must work to ensure the immigratio­n system is humane by working to modernize the visa system and asylum programs so they can’t be exploited by bad actors. He would also fight for a pathway to citizenshi­p for frontline workers, small-business owners and young people who have only known this country as their home.

Fetterman says we have to reject the false choice pitting laws and strong borders against those coming to America to seek a better life for themselves and their families.

Oz says he believes one of the core responsibi­lities of the federal government is to protect citizens.

In order to do that, he says on his website, we need to have a secure border with a barrier — whether that is a physical wall or one patrolled by technologi­cal advances.

At an August town hall meeting in western Pennsylvan­ia, Oz reiterated that he is for closed borders. But he also added that he believes the U.S. should expand legal immigratio­n, pointing out that his own father had immigrated to the U.S.

While Oz was born in the U.S., both of his parents came here from Turkey in the 1950s.

On abortion

Oz said in an interview this summer that he supports a hands-off approach when it comes to one of the most fiercely-debated issues facing the country: abortion rights. He said he thinks that’s a battle the federal government should have no part in.

During that interview, he declined to provide further details about his stance on abortion.

On his campaign website Oz describes himself as “100% pro-life.” And in May, Oz said during a telephone town hall that abortion at any stage of pregnancy is “still murder” because he believes that life begins at conception.

However, an Oz campaign spokeswoma­n told NBC News in August that while Oz is pro-life he does support exceptions to abortion restrictio­ns in cases involving victims of rape or incest and to protect the life of the mother.

Fetterman says a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions is sacred and not negotiable.

On his campaign website, he says right-wing extremists have been hellbent on rolling back abortion access since the ink was barely dry on the Roe v. Wade decision. And in the

decades since, the GOP has worked to do away with this fundamenta­l right with extreme laws aimed at banning abortions without exceptions for victims of rape or incest and even putting women who seek abortions and doctors who perform them behind bars.

If elected to serve in the Senate, Fetterman says he would vote to enshrine access to safe and legal abortion into federal law by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act because deciding how and when to become a mother is a decision that should always be made by a woman and her doctor — not politician­s. He promised to stand up to attacks on Planned Parenthood and fight to repeal the Hyde Amendment.

On crime

Fetterman says everyone has the right to feel safe in their communitie­s.

On his campaign website, he says that as mayor of Braddock and its chief law enforcemen­t officer he worked with the chief of police, police officers and the community to reduce violent crime. One of his proudest achievemen­ts as mayor was when Braddock went 5 ½ years without a gun death.

As a senator, Fetterman says he would make sure law enforcemen­t has the resources necessary to do their job but would also prioritize oversight, accountabi­lity and violence prevention.

He says true public safety must also include ending the tragedy of mass shootings in this country. The U.S. is the only country that sees this level of mass shootings, and we have the power to end it, he says.

Fetterman says he’s a gun owner and has been around guns his whole life. He wants what an overwhelmi­ng majority of Americans want — commonsens­e gun safety measures. He supports universal background checks, red flag laws and more proactive efforts to get illegal guns off the streets.

Oz says he’s a strong supporter of our law enforcemen­t personnel and will give them a powerful voice in Washington.

On his campaign website, he says he believes law enforcemen­t has a hard enough job on the streets and that they shouldn’t have to fend off calls to defund them from radicals and the extreme left.

Oz says he would support efforts to ensure law enforcemen­t personnel always have the resources they need to do their job and keep our communitie­s safe, and he opposes proposals such as cashless bail that make it tougher for police to do their jobs.

On election integrity

Oz says on his campaign website that he supports voter ID laws that ensure safe and secure elections. He says he would reject efforts by liberals to have the federal government take control of elections away from the states.

Fetterman says from gerrymande­ring and unlimited corporate money flooding elections to voter suppressio­n legislatio­n and the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, our democracy is in serious danger.

On his campaign website, he says he became one of the first candidates to call for abolishing the filibuster for a reason: It stands in the way of getting things done for Pennsylvan­ians. This includes protecting our democracy from those who simply want to throw out election results they don’t like.

In the Senate, he says he would fight to expand voting rights and push for reforms that get big money out of politics and prevent politician­s from picking their voters through partisan gerrymande­ring. He would also vote to ban members of Congress from holding or trading stocks because lawmakers should not be making profits off the same companies they are supposed to be regulating based on informatio­n that isn’t available to the public.

 ?? COLLAGE OF IMAGES FROM READING EAGLE/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Pennsylvan­ia Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, left, and Dr. Mehmet Oz are vying for a U.S. Senate seat in the November election.
COLLAGE OF IMAGES FROM READING EAGLE/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Pennsylvan­ia Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, left, and Dr. Mehmet Oz are vying for a U.S. Senate seat in the November election.
 ?? BILL UHRICH — READING EAGLE ?? Dr. Mehmet Oz, Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, right, with former primary opponent Jeff Bartos, answers questions from the Reading Eagle at the B2Bistro + Bar in West Reading in July.
BILL UHRICH — READING EAGLE Dr. Mehmet Oz, Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, right, with former primary opponent Jeff Bartos, answers questions from the Reading Eagle at the B2Bistro + Bar in West Reading in July.
 ?? KEITH SRAKOCIC — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? John Fetterman campaignin­g in March.
KEITH SRAKOCIC — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS John Fetterman campaignin­g in March.

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