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WHQR will host and broadcast four candidate forums as part of the 2012 Election Season in the MC Erny Gallery, 254 N. Front Street, #300.Each forum will feature two local journalists asking prepared questions during the first half of the event. The second portion will be dedicated to questions from voters. A live studio audience will be invited to ask questions during this segment. We'll also use questions sent in from listeners.If you have a question for the candidates, please email us (newsdirector@whqr.org) or submit via Twitter with the #whqrforums hash tag and tell us which slate of candidates you'd like to address. We reserve the right to edit the questions for clarity, brevity, and objectivity. Each question must be addressed to all candidates in a particular race. If you can't attend the live event, Tweet along while you tune in or listen or watch the webcast online at 7 PM each night to hear the candidates! (WWAY will also broadcast the forums live on Time Warner Cable. RTV is channel 106, on ATMC, channel 903, on Charter Cable, channel 145 and over-the-air at 3.2.)Tuesday, Oct. 2, 7 PM- New Hanover County CommissionersJonathan Barfield (Current Vice Chairman)Beth DawsonRobert MurrayDr. Derrick HickeyWoody WhiteRob Zapple Thursday, Oct. 4, 7 PM- NC House District 18Representative Susi Hamilton (D)Louis Harmati (R) Monday, Oct. 8, 7 PM - NC Senate District 9Senator Thom Goolsby (R)Deb Butler (D) Thursday, Oct. 18, 7 PM - NC House District 19 & NC House District 20 NC House District 19Ted Davis, Jr. (Current NHC Commission Chair)Emilie Swearingen (Current Kure Beach Councilwoman)NC House District 20Rick Catlin (Current NHC Commissioner) (R)Tom Gale (D)

Pantano, Rouzer, and Crow debate Illegal Immigration Reform at Downtown Wilmington Candidates' Forum

7th Congressional District Candidates' Forum
Inside the New Hanover County Courthouse

The three Republican candidates vying for the chance to face Representative Mike McIntyre in the November election spoke to a packed room inside the New Hanover County Courthouse last night.

Randy Crow, Ilario Pantano and Senator David Rouzer discussed their positions on everything from national security to domestic energy production to job creation.  But, as WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn reports, it was the question of illegal immigration that highlighted one of deeper divides between Rouzer and Pantano.   

All three candidates agree that reforming the tax code, slashing spending on Capitol Hill, and doing away with corporate regulation that amounts to costly red tape for businesses are critical items on their agenda.  And while Rouzer, Pantano, and Crow also agree that illegal immigration costs American citizens jobs and money, they don’t agree on how to address the problem.  Ilario Pantano says the government should start by securing the borders.

“I’d like to relocate some of our troops from overseas and put them back along the border.  I think it’s very important that we have control of our border, number one.  Number two, we need to remove the magnet, the incentive here.  For example, illegal aliens should not receive in-state tuition.  Veterans that have fought in wars don’t receive in-state tuition rates in many states and yet we give it to illegals.  That’s unacceptable.  We’re rewarding them for bad behavior.”

David Rouzer says he’d like to see guest worker programs set up for those illegal immigrants who are working.

“Let the ones who are contributing to American society and doing work that no other American is willing to do – like dig sweet potatoes and crop tobacco and those kind of things – pick blueberries. Let them earn their way.  They’re contributing to the American economy.  They’re not detracting from it.”

Randy Crow held up Arizona’s tough stance on illegals as a model for the nation.  The primary election takes place May 8th.  One-stop voting begins tomorrow.