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GOP Senate hopefuls make case

ORANGE — The three contenders for the Republican candidacy in the race to fill the seat on the U.S. Senate recently vacated by John Kerry aired their views on gun rights, spending, health care and other subjects Sunday at the local American Legion Post.

The Orange Republican Town Committee played host to the meet and greet with former Navy SEAL, now a private equity executive Gabriel Gomez, former United States Attorney Michael Sullivan and Norfolk state Rep. Daniel Winslow.

Gomez said he is a first-generation American and a first-timer in politics, and stressed congressional reforms and protections for businesses including de-regulation.

Gomez said he is concerned that the next generation will not have the same opportunities as he did, since they are faced with fiscal instability and almost $17 trillion in national debt. To counter this, he raised a seven-point plan.

“I think we need a return back to the citizen servant,” Gomez said, listing points that include a balanced budget amendment, barring legislators from lobbying, introducing term limits and line-item veto power for the president to cut pork from the budget. Gomez also said pay for congressmen should be flat and shouldn’t be paid unless they pass a budget, and senators and congressmen should transfer all personal assets to a blind trust to avoid ambiguity in their motives.

On the topic of gun control, Gomez said he opposes any type of assault weapons ban or limit on magazine capacity.

“I do believe you should close the gun show loophole and tie it to mental health, that’s it,” he said.

Sullivan talked about his career in the state house of representatives and at the federal level as U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts and director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He said balancing the budget is his priority.

“The greatest threat we have to our national security is this budget deficit and this growing debt,” Sullivan sad.

Sullivan said the nation needs to cut and cap all discretionary spending by federal departments.

On the topic of gun control, Sullivan said he does not support the current bill to close the gun show loophole, saying it does nothing to prevent those adjudicated mentally ill from purchasing firearms.

Winslow told the audience of about 50 he is the only candidate from either party with roots in western Mass. and is focused on limiting government spending and taxation.

Winslow said he has plans to address unemployment by reducing the cost of college and vocational education and another to fix the mental health system.

“That, not gun control, is the solution to fixing our violence problem here in America,” Winslow said.

Asked about welfare, Winslow said he proposes eligibility standards beyond income, raising the possibility of eligibility based on lifestyle and spending.

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