By Christopher Cadelago and David Siders
April 25, 2016 – 01:00 p.m.
Democrats Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez offered contrasting styles Monday in the first televised debate of the U.S. Senate contest, while a trio of Republicans leapt at the chance to participate in a bipartisan skirmish.
The 1 1/2 -hour event was mostly courteous, yet it provided the five candidates their largest audience to date to stake out positions on a range of topics with six weeks to go before the June 7 primary.
Harris, a career prosecutor until her election to the attorney general’s office in 2010, cited her efforts on criminal justice issues and the mortgage crisis. She said most people have little concern about a candidate’s political party, and she called for a national commitment to paid family leave, full-day kindergarten and universal pre-kindergarten.
“If we’re going to improve the economy of this country, we have to improve the status of working families,” Harris said.
Debating in a Central Valley city battered by the recession and still recovering from municipal bankruptcy, Sanchez promoted her humble beginnings, including her reliance on Head Start services as a child and on the federal Pell Grant program as a college student. She called for the program’s expansion and said community college should be free.
Sanchez, a south-state congresswoman for nearly 20 years, said elected officials are too often “detached” from the general public, and by extension their struggles. When she repeatedly went over her allotted time, moderators from KCRA-TV and the San Francisco Chronicle interjected with gentle reminders.
“I just have so much to say because I am the one with experience,” Sanchez said at one point.
Immigration debate creates friction between Sundheim and Sanchez
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