Arnold & Schroeder address voters at WLBR candidates event

6 min read450 views and 156 shares Posted January 7, 2020

Both candidates for Pennsylvania’s 48th Senatorial District seat, Lebanon County’s District Attorney Dave Arnold and Lebanon Valley College history professor, Michael Schroeder, received applause and the occasional derisive “boo” for their views on subjects which ranged from abortion to gun control during a Candidates’ Night held in the auditorium of the Lebanon County Municipal Building Monday evening.

More than 200 people attended to hear the views, policies, and agendas of the next person who will represent them in the state Senate.

Advertisement
From left, Dave Arnold, Lebanon County District Attorney, and Michael Schroeder, an Associate Professor of History at Lebanon Valley College, respond to questions posed by WLBR’s Laura LeBeau during a special candidate debate held at the Lebanon County Municipal Building on Monday evening. (Barb West)

The evening was sponsored by WLBR (1270AM) and hosted by moderator Laura LaBeau.

A special general election will take place next Tuesday, Jan. 14, to select a State Senator to fill the remaining three years of the term of former Senator Mike Folmer, who resigned last September after being arrested and charged with possession of child pornography.

Advertisement

Read More: State Sen. Mike Folmer resigns, vacancy to be filled with special election

The state’s 48th Senatorial District comprises all of Lebanon County, and parts of York and Dauphin counties.

As moderator, LaBeau gave each candidate time for a 90-second opening statement before asking each candidate questions on top issues.

Advertisement
Laura LeBeau, WLBR radio news anchor and host of “On Air with Laura LeBeau,” served as moderator for the special detate between the candidates for the 48th Senate District seat. The debate was held at the Lebanon County Municipal Building on Monday evening.

Arnold, 48, said he was proud to have been nominated and wants to add another level to his record of public service.

Lebanon’s District Attorney for the past 14 years, Arnold is also president of the Pennsylvania District Attorney Association.

Advertisement

In his tenure as district attorney, Arnold said he has been an advocate for crime victims and a relentless prosecutor.

Arnold considers himself a “consistent conservative,” is strongly pro-life, and is a member of the National Rifle Association.

Dave Arnold, Lebanon County District Attorney, responds to questions during a debate held on Monday evening at the Lebanon County Courthouse. Arnold is the Republican candidate for the 48th Senate District seat left vacant due to the resignation of Republican Mike Folmer. The special election will be held Tuesday, Jan. 14. (Barb West)

Schroeder, 61, began his opening statement by telling the voters they deserved to hear from both candidates, and maintained that Arnold had rebuffed any prior efforts to discuss the issues publicly, thereby creating a “media void,” Schroeder said.

The purpose of government is to serve the public good, Schroeder said, adding that he has the qualities of honesty, integrity, a sense of fairness, and compassion; all necessary, he said, for those who govern.

Advertisement

LaBeau asked both candidates for their ideas on how to address property taxes.

“Property owners are still saddled with this onerous tax,” LaBeau said.

Advertisement

She asked each man if he wanted property taxes eliminated altogether or just reduced.

Schroeder said he doesn’t support the total elimination of property taxes, but wants the state to pick up more funding for schools, and wants property tax relief for senior citizens and for those on fixed incomes.

“No one should lose their home because of property taxes,” Schroeder said.

Arnold said one focus of the issue would be to decrease spending in school districts.

Advertisement

“One of my main issues will be property tax reform,” Arnold said.

LaBeau asked about increasing the sales tax, taxing food and clothing and raising income tax as ways to lower property taxes.

“Increasing sales tax and income tax – no,” Schroeder said. “I’m opposed to aggressive sales tax (increases) because that would hit the poor the hardest.”

Michael Schroeder, the Democratic candidate for the 48th Senate District seat, responds to questions during a special election candidate debate held at the Lebanon County Municipal Building on Monday evening. Schroeder is an Associate Professor of History at Lebanon Valley College. A special election to fill the 48th Senate District seat, left vacant following the resignation of Republican Mike Folmer, will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 14. (Barb West)

Arnold said he was also not in favor of raising the sales tax, and didn’t care for the current crop of plans to lower property taxes that are coming out of Harrisburg.

State Representative Frank Ryan (R) has a plan that includes raising the sales tax by two percent and taxing retirement income at 4.9 percent; the controversial part of his property tax plan, LaBeau said.

Read More: State Rep. Frank Ryan discusses proposed bill to end property taxes

Arnold said he flatly opposes retirement income being taxed.

“I don’t believe we should tax the people who have lived and worked here all their lives,” Arnold said. “We shouldn’t be placing that burden on them and they should not lose their homes because of property taxes – period.”

The candidates’ views on abortion sat on opposite ends of the spectrum.

“I am anti-abortion; there’s no question about it,” Arnold said. “But I do not wish to completely outlaw abortion, as in the case of incest, rape, or the health of the mother. But it’s unfortunate that we have come to view abortion as birth control.”

While voicing opinions more pro-choice than Arnold, Schroeder added that he does not approve of late-term abortion.

“I don’t support late-term abortion on demand,” Schroeder said. “Because at about 24 or 25 weeks of life, the fetus becomes viable…and then there is the right of the fetus to live. It is a very thorny issue.”

When asked, Schroeder said he didn’t see any reason why public money shouldn’t be used to pay for abortions.

Arnold, appalled, strongly disagreed.

“Under any circumstances, public money should not be used for abortion,” Arnold said. “Life begins at conception; the idea that life begins at 24 weeks – what is it before that? A lump of clay? I find that offensive. I can’t agree with that because we’re talking about human life.”

Find more photos of last night’s debate below.

Lebanon County District Attorney Dave Arnold visits with people in the audience prior to a special election candidate debate held Monday evening in the auditorium of the Lebanon County Municipal Building. Arnold is the Republican candidate for the 48th Senate District seat vacant due to the resignation of Republican Mike Folmer. (Barb West)
Michael Schroeder, an Associate Professor of History at Lebanon Valley College visits with members of the audience prior to a special election candidate debate held at the Lebanon County Municipal Building on Monday evening. Schroeder is the Democratic candidate for the 48th Senate District seat. (Barb West)
Dave Arnold, Lebanon County District Attorney, visits with people in the audience prior to a special election candidate debate held Monday evening in the auditorium of the Lebanon County Municipal Building. (Barb West)
WLBR’s Laura LeBeau poses a question to the two candidates vying for the 48th Senate District seat during a special debate at the Lebanon County Municipal Building on Monday evening. (Barb West)
Michael Schroeder, the Democratic candidate for the 48th Senate District seat, discusses local issues with a member of the audience prior to a special election candidate debate held at the Lebanon County Municipal Building on Monday evening. (Barb West)
From left, Dave Arnold, Lebanon County District Attorney, and Michael Schroeder, an Associate Professor of History at Lebanon Valley College, respond to questions posed by WLBR’s Laura LeBeau during a special candidate debate held at the Lebanon County Municipal Building on Monday evening. (Barb West)

An informed democracy is a healthy democracy.
An independent press makes democracy work better. Join LebTown as a member to help us make a difference. Benefits include member happy hours, an email preview of what we plan to publish each week, and access to our Friends of the Newsroom group on Facebook.

Join today to be invited to our Thursday happy hour at The Hive Lebanon, a new coworking space in West Lebanon Township!

Learn more and join now here.

Full Disclosure: The campaigns of Dave Arnold and Michael Schroeder are advertisers on LebTown at present. LebTown does not make editorial decisions based on advertising relationships and advertisers do not receive special editorial treatment. Learn more about advertising with LebTown here.

More Stories