BOSTON (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) FOX 25 continued their mini-debate series on Thursday with the candidates in the 7th Congressional District.
Congressman Mike Capuano is serving his seventh term as a member of Congress in the 8th district. He serves on the House Transportation Committee and Financial Services Committee. The Somerville native is running in the 7th district due to redistricting.
Prior to his seven terms in Congress, Rep. Capuano was the mayor of Somerville for five terms. He served as the president of the Massachusetts Municipal Association in 1998.
Karla Romero is running as an Independent candidate in the 7th Congressional District. She is the president and CEO of a local charity, a former MISS USA and Miss Boston contestant, and a motivational speaker for high-risk urban youth.
Romero is also a certified real estate agent and proud foster parent. She resides in Boston.
FOX 25's Maria Stephanos began the debate by asking the candidates what they believe the voters really care about.
Capuano began by saying that while the greater Boston economy appears to be doing better than the national economy, voters are concerned about the risk of another downturn. He says voters are concerned about keeping the trajectory up.
Romero said she feels that voters are worried about having a representative who represents the people and not corporations. She adds that voters "don't want to see anymore corrupt congressman in office representing corporations and not the community."
Maria Stephanos asked Romero to explain what she meant about "corrupt congressman." Romero responded by saying that Congress is seeing wealth growth of 14-percent personally while people in the 7th Congressional are losing jobs, losing their homes, and cannot afford to pay their rent.
Maria asked Capuano what he had to say about Romero's comments.
"Not much, I haven't seen any personal wealth growth. I haven't had a pay raise now in three years," responded Capuano. "I'm not poor, I'm solidly middle class. Corrupt congressman should be dealt with and they are. I don't think that was meant for me personally and I don't take it that way."
Romero clarified her comments, saying it was not meant as a personal attack on Capuano.
"It's just a statement as to what people want to see in Congress. They're ready to see new blood not the old boy's network that has been there," explained Romero.
Both candidates were also asked about the 7th Congressional becoming the largest minority district in Massachusetts due to redistricting. Maria pointed out that Romero would say that is a reason to vote for her because she can best represent that and asked Capuano what he had to say about it.
Capuano responded by saying that there are a handful of people who will vote on "identity politics," but that most people vote for the most qualified person running. He added that the 7th Congressional doesn't have one majority of one given group by ethnicity or by race and that he is proud to represent such a diverse district.
Romero said she thinks it is important to voters to have someone who identifies with the district. She says that people are excited about the opportunity to vote into office the first Congresswoman of color from Massachusetts. Romero also pointed out that the U.S. population consisted of 51-percent women, but Congress is made up of only 17-percent women and 4-percent minorities.
Capuano was also asked about a comment that made headlines after a rally in Boston that supported public employee unions in Wisconsin. He was quoted as saying, "Every once in a while you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary."
The congressman reiterated a previous apology on FOX 25 Thursday. He said a moment of passion got to him and he chose the wrong phrase. Capuano explained that he meant working people need to fight for what they've gotten and they need to fight for the ability to get into the middle class, as well as the ability to stay in the middle class.