7th District Congressional Candidates Lance and Larsen Debate in Advance of June 3 Republican Primary Election

May 29, 2014 at 12:01 PM

CLARK, NJ – Representative Leonard Lance (R-07), 7th Congressional District incumbent, squared off against Republican primary challenger David Larsen in a debate held Wednesday at the Holiday Inn in Clark. 

The debate was co-sponsored by the Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Clark Chamber of Commerce. Gateway President James Coyle moderated the debate. Questions focused specifically on issues that concerned the business community: health care, transportation, energy, the Federal deficit and tax policy. 

In his opening remarks, Congressman Lance attributed the challenges facing small businesses to high taxes, red tape, overregulation, federal spending and rising energy prices. He supports policies that jump start the economy and said, “We know that small business is the economic engine that keeps our country moving.”

Sign Up for E-News

Larsen cited government spending and debt as primary issues facing small business and said he is concerned with the direction the country and economy are taking. “I am here because I want to make a difference, a difference for my country,” he said.

Both candidates endorsed the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and stated that future healthcare policy must address tort reform. Both candidates rejected a mandated single-payer system. Lance seeks to replace the ACA with alternative legislation that would permit purchase of policies across state lines, health savings accounts, and pooling for small businesses. He encouraged building on the model of employer-based health insurance.  

Larsen said he supports HR3121 which calls for the repeal of Obamacare in its entirety. The bill provides access to portable healthcare insurance by standard deduction, similar to a voucher system, healthcare insurance savings accounts and high risk pools to provide care to Americans who have health issues.  

“I’m against Obamacare,” Larsen said, “not only because it’s a tax, but it’s the takeover of one-sixth of our economy and it is access to everybody’s personal information. In my opinion, it’s a socialist agenda that should be defunded immediately and repealed.”

On the subject of the transportation infrastructure, both candidates cited deficiencies in the Highway Trust Funds.  Larsen stated that infrastructure repairs should be left to the states, and that the states should be allowed to find creative ways to raise funds to fix their roads.  In response to a follow-up question, Larsen cited electronic tolling and increased drilling for oil and gas.

Lance indicated that a modern and efficient national transportation system is critically important to the business community. “In Congress,” he said, “I have focused on strengthening America’s transportation network to make it more efficient, more competitive and more prosperous.”  He would generate revenue for the highway trust funds through expanded drilling for natural gas.  “I think that is the way to increase the trust fund, and I am opposed to increasing the gas tax,” he said.  Lance called for reform of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in a discussion of fraud, waste and abuse.

Lance then vehemently defended the Lance Amendment, a measure passed during his time in the New Jersey Senate that forbids the state to borrow funds without specific approval by the voters.  Of the amendment he said, “One of the proudest accomplishments of my life, ladies and gentlemen, is the Lance Amendment. Now we can no longer borrow in New Jersey because of my amendment. It took a great deal of effort to get it through the legislature, the Democratically-controlled legislature.  It passed in every one of the 566 municipalities in the state.”

Talk then turned to government debt, the deficit and government spending.   

Lance supported the Paul Ryan budget that called for a balanced budget over a 10-year time period. “This is one of most critical issues confronting the nation and we have got to get back to a place where we have our budget in order, where revenues meet the expenditures of the nation,” Lance said. He attributed reductions in the deficits to Republican control of the House of Representatives. 

Larsen, who called the annual deficit “appalling” and “unbelievable,” said that a balanced budget amendment is likely the only way to proceed, “To force these guys to stop sticking their hands in our pockets.”  He said the Ryan budget fell short in not calling for an immediate balanced budget.

Both men referred back to Ronald Reagan: Larsen on the subject of promised future spending cuts, Lance in a defense of debt ceiling increases tied to reforms and corresponding spending cuts.

When asked if the economy would be hurt by a refusal to increase the debt ceiling, Larsen responded, “We do not have a money problem in this country, we have a wisdom problem. There is plenty of money coming into the purse.  We are spending in areas where we have no reason to be.”  Larsen then called for a flatter, fairer tax system and a reduction in the Internal Revenue Service.

Coyle asked Larsen about the environmental cost of fracking and drilling. Larsen responded, “America’s prosperity, her path to recovery has a lot to do with drilling for oil and gas.” After sharing a story about two nephews who moved to the Dakotas to work in the oil fields, Larsen said, “Petroleum is everywhere, you bet it’s worth the risk. Fracking has been debunked as far as being bad for the economy. We need to drill baby, drill and usher in a boom in this economy.”

Lance endorsed a free-market approach to renewable energy sources and said, “Newer forms of energy will be coming on line, and I favor those, but I do not want to subsidize them from the taxpayers’ point of view.”  He called for an increase in natural gas production and sees it as a method to achieve energy independence from foreign fossil fuel sources and a matter of national security.  He went on to say that the development of the Keystone Pipeline is essential to the nation’s energy policy.

The final questions were in regard to tax policy. Lance referred again to Reagan in discussing a two-tier tax rate system and said he would endorse a return to that tax method.  He would maintain deductions for charitable contributions, state and local taxes and mortgage interest.

Lance called for reform of the corporate tax rates.  He quoted the current rate of 35 percent to be higher than that of other nations.  “I favor a territorial system at the corporate level, where if a company earns profits abroad, and they’re taxed abroad, then those profits can be brought back home to create American jobs without paying the differential that now exists between the lower rate abroad and the higher corporate tax rate in this country,” he said.   

Larsen cited the size of the IRS code and the role of special interest groups as problems in the tax system.  He called for a flatter, fairer tax system and dramatic cuts to the IRS. 

The candidates were asked to include a discussion of the role of government in peoples’ lives in their summations.

Lance said that problems should be solved by the government closest to the people at the municipal, county or state level. He stated, “The responsibility of the federal government is for the defense of the United States.”  He cited the economy as the greatest issue confronting the nation today and that competition from rising foreign powers will be the greatest issue for the next generation. 

“The government’s role is what the Constitution says and only what the Constitution says,” Larsen said.  “The government’s role has expanded disproportionally,” he continued, “The Constitution was written to limit the powers of government, not you. For some reason, it’s been twisted on its ear.”  He stressed his experience as a businessman and his understanding of the needs of small business.

The debate concluded with a handshake between the two candidates.

The primary election will be held on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.



TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Four Years to the Day After Tragedy, Documentary 'Newtown' Screens in Summit Dec. 14

December 7, 2016

SUMMIT, NJ - 'Newtown', a documentary by Kim A. Snyder that chronicles the aftermath of the deadliest shooting of schoolchildren in American history -- a shooting that took the lives of 20 elementary school children and six educators -- will be screened locally on December 14 at MONDO. The film's showing coincides with the four-year anniversary of the tragedy in Newtown, CT, ...

Berkeley Heights PAL Runners Win Team 11-12 Boys USATF Regional Championships

On November 20th, hundreds of runners lined up for the Junior Olympics Cross Country Regional Championships in Greystone Park in in Morris Plains, New Jersey. It was blustery cold, winds were upwards of 30-40 miles per hour and the grounds where covered with sleet.

The 11-12 3000 meter Boys WolfPack runners of Patrick McGrath, Chris Marinko, Nick Yarad, Jackson Levine, and Aidan Linde were ...

Norris McLaughlin & Marcus Welcomes Chief Operating Officer 

BRIDGEWATER, NJ –  The Bridgewater-based law firm Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A., is pleased to welcome Richard J. Levy as its Chief Operating Officer. Levy brings decades of management experience, most recently as the CEO of Myelin Health. 

“On behalf of Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, we are pleased to welcome Rich to our management team as our ...

Speaker Ryan Signs Lance Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07), Vice Chair of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee, today joined U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan as he signed off on Lance’s  Consumer Review Fairness Act.  Lance’s consumer protection legislation passed both the House and U.S. Senate and now heads to President Obama.  The legislation will allow ...

Our Town

December 5, 2016

To the Editor:

The past few years have brought on a numerous number of debates, the Redevelopment Act, new town hall, change in our downtown area, the Supreme Court ruling on COAH to name a few. Many of you know I do not agree with some of the above BUT I am only one person. I have learned to sit and study the different situations to understand them by researching.
The other thing that we ...

Letter to the Editor by Edmund Tom Maciejewski

Dear Editor,


In accordance with a ballot question that was passed in November 2005, Berkeley Heights switched from a Township Committee form to a Mayor-Council-Administrator form of government under the Faulkner Act or OMCL ( Optional Municipal Charter Law ).

There are 4 categories of municipalities under the Faulkner Act. The Mayor-Council-Administrator form that was chosen by ...

BH Town Council, Where's the Zero?

To the editor: 

In a recent Mayor’s Roundtable, the town council mentioned that Berkeley Heights uses zero-based budgeting. The Nov 17, 2016 stream of the Mayor's Roundtable explained the budgeting process and made it clear that Berkeley Heights is not using ZBB by any definition of the term.  

Our council used to have five or six budget review meetings to publicly go ...

Beckerman’s Theory of Everything

Any armchair theoretical physicist knows that Stephen Hawking has pursued a lifelong quest to come up with a Theory of Everything. This all-encompassing theory would tie together general relativity (large scale and high mass galaxies, stars, etc), quantum theory (quantum mechanics, quarks, atoms, subatomic particles), and Newtonian physics (gravity on small bodies, gas laws, electromagnetism) to ...

The Mayor's Roundtable November Edition

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Mayor's Round Table is a monthly show hosted by Dr. Donald DeFabio, who sits with Mayor Robert Woodruff to talk about current issues that affect the township as well as answer questions submitted by citizens. 

Included in this episode are discussions regarding the next step to creating a Peppertown Park committee; Board of Education ...

Shannon's six week transformation story

Shannon just finished her 6 Week Transformation, here were her results: 

Dropped 2 Pant sizes
Energy Level went from a 2 to a 9
Confidence level from a 5 to a 9

She was very happy and satisfied with these results, but the best result was taking her focus off the scale! For years Shannon only measured her success for her health by weight loss.

When we sat down in the ...

Upcoming Events


Wed, December 7, 5:00 AM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Merry Fitness – A Program To Get You Through The ...

Health & Wellness


Wed, December 7, 5:00 AM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Give Back & Help a Local Animal Shelter

Giving Back


Wed, December 7, 12:00 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Duplicate Bridge at the Y

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, December 7, 12:00 PM

Berkeley Heights YMCA, Berkeley Heights

Enhance Fitness

Health & Wellness


Wed, December 7, 12:30 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Mah Jongg

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, December 7, 6:00 PM

Union County College, Cranford

Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA) -- ...


Which is Best: Lump Sum or Pension Annuity?

Is a lump sum offer from an employer a better choice than a pension annuity for life? The former provides an immediate up-front amount (say $300,000), but the pension annuity gives you a stream of payments for life (example: $1,350 per month). A number of employers dangle a lump sum offer to employees in part to remove future liabilities from their balance sheets. It’s tempting for ...

Chris Brown Named President at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties is proud to announce the appointment of Chris Brown to President of the 21-office real estate brokerage headquartered in Somerset, New Jersey. Previously serving as Executive Vice President and General Sales Manager, Brown is a member of the company’s ownership team along with Bill Keleher, Seymour and Nancy Litwin, and Steve Janett.

Local Students Lend a Hand at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Gov. Livingston seniors Hannah Probst and Gillian Mitreuter walk in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade for the second yea.. Last year they were a part of the 'All star' baseball clown group and this year they were a part of the first ever Girl Scout float group.

"It was such an honor walking with the Girl Scout's inaugural float as we were both Girl Scouts ...