By Jenny Lee-Adrian
Voters will see a spirited first debate between incumbent John Hall, D-Dover, and challenger Republican Kieran Michael Lalor when Cablevision's "Meet the Leaders" airs next week.
"Meet the Leaders" host Terence Michos moderated a debate between the two 19th Congressional District candidates Friday at the Cablevision studio in Wappingers Falls.
Lalor, an Iraq veteran from Peekskill, said, "I want to talk about the exploitation of veterans by my opponent."
Lalor mentioned a veteran who was filmed receiving a giant check from Hall, a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
"Every vet who gave a public appearance asked to do it and approved of doing it," Hall responded.
Lalor was endorsed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Political Action Committee, while Hall said he received letters from the American Legion and VFW commending him for helping veterans.
The pair also sparred on issues ranging from health care to the financial bailout package Congress approved.
Hall voted for the $700 billion bailout package, but Lalor opposed it.
"We had to do something," Hall said. "We're trying to provide a bottom. We're trying to keep the recession from becoming worse."
Lalor said, "It's not the role of the federal government to bail out CEOs and bail out people who took bad loans."
Hall supports universal health care, while Lalor said he believes the federal government should not deliver it.
"Every ally of ours, every other country in the industrialized world, has some kind of national baseline health care," Hall said.
Hall pointed out the federal government already provides health care through Medicare and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Lalor said a universal health-care system would do more harm than good.
Lalor's older daughter has a severe heart condition and has had two surgeries. He said only a certain number of children with his daughter's ailment would get open-heart surgery in the nationalized health-care system of the United Kingdom.
"Nationalized health care would be a nightmare for this country," Lalor said. "It would be a nightmare for my family."