What Yorkers want from GOP debate

Christopher Dornblaser

With the final GOP debate for the year will taking place tonight, some Yorkers believe there are still some unanswered questions for the candidates.

Alex Shorb, head of the Republican Committee in York, said he believes the candidates have been well vetted with the questions they have been asked, but one of his main concerns is how the size of government will be handled.

"To me, I think that's one of the critical questions out there," he said.

Shorb said he's really looking to see how the candidates — not just Republicans, but Democrats as well — handle dealing with the size of government.

"Do you want to cut government or do you want to cut the rate of growth of government?" he said.

"Really what I'm looking for is the differences between candidates cutting size of the government or cutting growth," he said.

Minimum wage: Bob Kefauver, former chairman of the Democratic Committee of York and a self-proclaimed "democratic activist," said he's concerned about minimum wage and would like to get some answers about it from the candidates.

"I really would like a straightforward answer on each of them one where they stand on raising the minimum wage," he said.

Kefauver said he doesn't understand why the candidates are opposed to raising it if there is no hard viable economic data supporting their claims.

“How did you conclude that — where is the verifiable data?” he said.

Christopher Hundley, communications director and legislative director for Service Employees International Union 668 in Harrisburg, shared similar thoughts.

He said he would like to hear why the candidates have denounced raising the minimum wage.

"There are millions of folks who are over the age of 20 who are making poverty wages," he said.

Christopher Hundley

Economy: Shorb said he hopes the candidates will go over the issue of the economy,

"It's really, who do you believe can put the economy on the right course?" he said.

Chris Boyer, vice president of the York County Young Democrats, said he would like to know how they would deal with the federal budget.

"How will they fix our deficit and our debt problem?" he said.

"What programs are we willing to cut and why?" he said, adding that he would like to know where they would raise taxes, and whom would they raise them for.

Why reverse?: Jose Colon-Bones, president of the board of directors at Centro Hispano, described himself as having more conservative values and has voted for both parties in the past. Colon-Bones said he has a question for all the GOP candidates.

"Why do we want to reverse everything (President Barack) Obama did?" he said.

He said while he doesn't think everything Obama has implemented has worked, such as Obamacare, some of it has.

"What is working with the country, we don't need to touch it," he said.

Colon-Bones said most of the candidates have said they wish to reverse everything Obama has done since going into office, and he thinks that could create a pattern of presidents from different parties going into office and undoing everything the previous president had done.

"When is it going to end?" he said. "It can get ugly, you know."

Alternatives: Kefauver said he wants to hear what potential viable alternatives the candidates have to the things they oppose.

He said he wants to know what alternatives to the Affordable Care Act the candidates have since they are opposed to it.

“If they want to repeal it, yes, what do you put in its place? Give me details. How would that be better?” he said.

Kefauver also said he wants to know what sort of immigration reform they can offer, saying Donald Trump's extreme position on illegal immigration from Mexico is not viable.

“What you’re proposing, sir, is simply not a viable solution to the immigration issue that we face today. What truly viable and constitutionally allowable reforms regarding immigration would you put into place?” he said.

Boyer said he wants to know how the candidates can compromise. He said they denounce Planned Parenthood for abortion, but they do not focus on other services the organization offers, such as breast cancer screenings.

"How are they going to compromise?" he said.

"Serious" conversations: Kefauver believes it is time for the candidates to have more serious conversations.

“It’s time that we had much more serious, adult conversations about the challenges that we as a nation face these days,” he said, adding that he didn't think he was getting that from anyone on the Republican side.

“Trump’s getting so much attention because he’s saying wildly inappropriate, often times offensive, remarks," he said adding that the national media is blowing them way out of proportion.

Colon-Bones does not think highly of the candidates and debates, saying everything coming out of Trump's mouth is a joke.

"If I want a joke, I'll watch Comedy Central," he said.

He also said there are too many candidates.

"When you have 15 guys running, it's tough," he said.

Hundley said he thinks the debates have had a lot of fear-mongering.

“I really would like to see a strong and substantive domestic agenda rather than the fear mongering that pits us against each other,” he said.

The debate: Tuesday's debate will begin at 8:30 p.m. and will be shown on CNN. It will feature candidates Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio, former Gov. Jeb Bush, Gov. Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Rand Paul. Voting will begin in Iowa on Feb. 1.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.