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Democratic candidates for U.S. House 9th District seat hit array of topics in forum
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David Cooper and Josh McCall shake hands on Monday, April 30, 2018, in Gainesville, at the end of a debate between McCall and Cooper, who are Democratic candidates running for the U.S. House seat from Georgia's 9th District. - photo by David Barnes

David Cooper and Josh McCall shared the microphone throughout the evening, as well as many opinions on such hot-button topics as immigration, gun policy and global warming.

The two Democratic candidates seeking to be the lone opponent to U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, in Georgia’s 9th District spent more than an hour Monday, April 30, discussing their positions and stances with a mostly partisan crowd at the Gainesville Civic Center.

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David Cooper speaks on Monday, April 30, 2018, in Gainesville, during a debate between Josh McCall and Cooper, who are Democratic candidates running for the U.S. House 9th District seat. - photo by David Barnes
“The three weeks I’ve got left (until the May 22 primary), I’m going to talk about my candidacy, my skill set, my experience, my commitment to this nation … that pushes five decades,” said Cooper, an Army veteran and Clayton resident.

“I would like to introduce a new sort of Judeo-Christian value to this district,” said McCall, a Gainesville teacher. “When Jesus taught ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ — and I want health care, a job and prosperity for my family — I must by obligation wish that on my LGBT neighbor, my immigrant neighbor, my Muslim neighbor, my atheist neighbor.”

Cooper and McCall covered a lot of specific topics in the event, organized by the Hall County Democratic Party. They are seeking to represent the 9th District, which covers Northeast Georgia from the western edge of Fannin County in the northwest to Elbert County on the South Carolina border.

On immigration, Cooper said he thinks “we should put a stop to this movement to deport people completely, except if they are criminals, until we resolve the broader issues.”

Election 2018

Primary early voting: April 30-May 18

Primary: May 22

General election: Nov. 6

“We ought to make sure people have a 5-year path to citizenship,” McCall said. “People should not be slaving away in these chicken plants … and not have a chance to vote for their own political destiny.”

Both candidates had similar concerns about global warming.

“If we don’t spend the money now to save our climate, we will see catastrophes in our economy, our society,” McCall said.

“Global warming is happening and accelerating at a rate beyond what some of the worst scenarios have suggested,” said Cooper, who worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “We have to transition to clean energy, and we have to do it much more rapidly than we have.”

On foreign policy, the two candidates talked about separate issues.

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Josh McCall speaks on Monday, April 30, 2018, in Gainesville, during a debate between McCall and David Cooper, who are Democratic candidates running for the U.S. House 9th District seat. - photo by David Barnes
For McCall, the big concern was America’s recent overseas wars and their aftermaths.

“We have spent more rebuilding Afghanistan than we spent rebuilding Europe after World War II, adjusted for inflation,” he said.

“In my view, the biggest issue will always be … nuclear weapons,” Cooper said. “In a moment of stupidity, a billion people could die.”

The two candidates also had a few zingers, including a remark by Cooper that, with his environmental background, people shouldn’t vote for him “if I blow this question” about climate change.

And McCall had this sideways dig at Republicans: “While Democrats may be known as tax and spend, we know we actually have to pay for what we get.”

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Josh McCall makes his introduction on Monday, April 30, 2018, in Gainesville, during a debate between McCall and David Cooper, who are Democratic candidates running for the U.S. House 9th District seat. - photo by David Barnes
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