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Cantwell, Hutchison meet in second Washington Senate debate

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – Candidates in Washington’s U.S. senate race clashed Saturday over policies on the environment, trade and tariffs, immigration and health care.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, and Republican challenger Susan Hutchison held their second debate in Spokane and touched on many of the themes they struck in their first debate Oct. 8 in Tacoma, the KING 5 television station reported.

Cantwell said she supports efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses and reliance on fossil fuels, such as investing in renewable energy.

She criticized President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, which aims to combat climate change, the TV station reported. The Trump administration “is not working together with those nations that could help us,” she said.

Hutchison said balancing environmental policy with economic needs is crucial, KING 5 reported.

“We don’t want to make those who are forced to make decisions.they’re not ready to make as they’re needing a growth in energy,” she said.

Cantwell called for more funding on the local law enforcement level to stop the movement of illicit drugs like opioids, KING 5 reported. She also advocated for working with clinics to re-evaluate how pain management is administered.

“We’re trying to get away from this very addictive drug,” Cantwell said.

Hutchison said fighting the opioid crisis begins with tougher law enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border. “There’s no question that drugs are flooding across the southern border,” she said.

Hutchison said she did not support the concept of sanctuary cities, saying it hurt immigration reform.

“Anytime a municipality takes the law into their own hands and disregards what the law is for the nation, we put ourselves on a slippery slope,” she said.

Cantwell did not come out in support of sanctuary cities, but she said she supports local governments who don’t want to be penalized federal dollars while immigration reform is being worked out, KING 5 reported.

Cantwell, a former tech executive who previously severed one term the U.S. House and six years as a state representative in the Washington Legislature, beat Republican Sen. Slade Gorton in that 2000 race by just 2,229 votes. Her win margin increased significantly in her next two elections, and she garnered more than 60 percent of the vote in her 2012 re-election bid.

Hutchison spent two decades as a Seattle TV news anchor before leading the state Republican party for five years.

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