(The Center Square) – A virtual town hall on Thursday featured Democratic U.S. Senate nominee John Fetterman talking about the concerns of Latino business owners.
The forum, hosted by the U.S. Hispanic Business Council, had USHBC President Javier Palomarez question Fetterman on the economy, immigration, energy policy and crime. Like Tuesday’s U.S. Senate debate with Republican rival Dr. Mehmet Oz, Fetterman used closed caption technology and echoed some of the same lines.
Fetterman referred to his time as mayor of Braddock, a small borough outside Pennsylvania, and the importance of making “increased kinds of investments” into “forgotten communities” like where he lives and places like Reading, which has a large Hispanic population.
“We need more family-sustaining jobs right here in Pennsylvania and in America, I believe we should be having more tax cuts on working families,” Fetterman said. “A core value of mine is we need to raise the minimum wage … I believe with all work there is dignity, and all paychecks must have dignity as well.”
He also spoke of the need “to create a more vibrant kind of economy to attract folks” to Pennsylvania and create “a more hospitable environment for businesses.”
Fetterman expanded on his views of energy and fracking, of which he was criticized on Tuesday for struggling to explain his previous opposition to fracking, as The Center Square previously reported.
“I fundamentally believe we should always be making more energy right here in America,” Fetterman said. “The truth is, Democrats always must be honest about energy security and how critical it is .. we can’t have a strong economy if we don’t have the power to support it.”
Fetterman called an all-renewable energy reliance “just not realistic” and explained his previous opposition to fracking as concerns for its environmental impact and its impact on neighborhoods.
Palomarez pressed him on whether he would support efforts for permitting reform in Congress, such as West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s proposal to streamline the approval process for energy transmission lines and pipelines, including in Pennsylvania.
“As long as it’s done in a very safe and environmental way, I support that,” Fetterman said, though he noted he’s concerned about past projects in the commonwealth that incurred fines for violations. “So long as it doesn’t run through residential neighborhoods or (is a) danger to the population, I can support that.”
Fetterman also spoke of the importance of making Pennsylvania a welcoming state for immigration and said immigration reform would require a bipartisan solution that reflected common sense and compassion.
Through the forum, Fetterman repeated a few lines that voters heard in Tuesday’s debate, and again claimed he was “always ready to fight for anyone that ever got knocked down and has to get back up.”