Paul Chabot+Pete Aguilar

31st Congressional District candidates D-Pete Aguilar (left) and R-Paul Chabot (right) shake hands at center stage prior to their debate Monday evening in Memorial Chapel on the University of Redlands campus. (Will Lester — Staff photographer)

By Sandra Emerson, Redlands Daily Facts
Posted: 10/20/14, 9:10 PM PDT | Updated: 48 secs ago

Congressional candidates Pete Aguilar and Paul Chabot debated the issues of the state’s 31st District in front of a lively crowd Monday at the University of Redlands.

More than 1,000 people attended the debate hosted by the Redlands Daily Facts, which gave each candidate an opportunity to address national issues such as illegal immigration, social security and terrorism.

Aguilar, a Democrat and Mayor of Redlands and Chabot, a Republican and Navy veteran, each had their fair share of heckles and encouragement from their supporters in the audience throughout the debate.

Brian Janiskee, head of the political science department at Cal State San Bernardino and Beau Yarbrough, reporter for Los Angeles News Group, served as panelists for the debate.

Frank Pine, managing editor for the San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and the Redlands Daily Facts, thanked the audience and introduced Dr. Ralph Kuncl, University of Redlands president.

Michael Anastasi, vice president and executive editor of the Los Angeles News Group, which includes the Redlands Daily Facts, thanked the candidates and their families.

Toni Momberger, Redlands Daily Facts editor, served as moderator.

On changes to the county’s current immigration policy, Aguilar said there is a need for comprehensive reform and a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people living in the country.

“We need to offer a path to citizenship if they’re willing to pay taxes and submit to a background check. It’s good for the economy and it keeps our region together,” Aguilar said. “The notion that you can just deport 11 million people is the wrong policy. My opponent supported a radical Arizona proposal here in California that would support racially profiling. That’s the wrong policy for this region and San Bernardino County.”

Chabot said first and foremost, the border needs to be secured and that United States’ federal aid money should be used to secure South American nations.

“If you’re a mom and dad in Mexico or Latin American countries with corruption and violence you want to get out,” he said. “We should mandate our federal aid dollars go to Mexico to do two things, increasing societal rule of law and rooting out corrupting, so the good people of Mexico want to stay safe in their country.”

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