Editor's note: The segment air date was changed to Oct. 15.
A taped debate between the candidates for the Democrat Dan McNeill and Republican Dave Molony, will air at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15 on "Business Matters," hosted by Tony Iannelli.
Both candidates asserted they had the qualifications to represent the 133rd District, which includes parts of eastern Salisbury, Hanover, Whitehall townships, Fountain Hill and Coplay boroughs, about half of Bethlehem and part of Allentown.
Dan McNeill, a former Whitehall Township Commissioner and Executive and union leader, said he has a record of putting people to work. He said the Lehigh Valley's priority should be creating jobs with competitive wages.
Dave Molony, who has run an acupuncture and alternative medicine practice in Catasauqua for nearly 20 years and has worked on national associations in the field, said he is able to work with disparate parties, identify imbalances and build consensus.
Molony sounded a familiar Republican theme that calls for less government. He criticized school bureaucracies that he said makes teachers less accessible to the public. McNeill countered saying he had no difficulty reaching teachers and criticized Molony for not attending a recent forum sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Education Association.
Molony said he didn't attend because the group was probably going to be antagonistic toward him. But, he said, he had "nothing against unions," and cited work experience with machinists earlier in his career.
When asked how the candidates planned to improve the local economy, McNeill said he would draw on his experience working with government and unions and his ability to work with 25 different municipalities to secure grants when he worked wth Lehigh County.
"You can't succeed without labor and management," he said.
On urban revitalization: Both candidates said they supported efforts to redevelop the Lehigh Valley's urban centers, specifically Allentown. Molony cited Allentown's vibrant arts scene as an important resource.
McNeil said flight from the cities to the suburbs contributed to their decline,
"We never should have left the city to begin with," McNeill said.
On decaying infrastructure: Molony said repairs should be made to existing roads and bridges, but governments can't afford to build new infrastructure. Molony supports the building of small hydroelectric plants. McNeill said building and repairing infrastructure creates American jobs and can help stem the flow of manufacturing to China.
McNeil was appointed to replace incumbent Joe Brennan, who announced in August he would not seek re-election. Brennan has been charged with drunken driving and assaulting his wife.