Thu. Sep 28th, 2023

MOUNT LAUREL — No bad words were used in the making of a candidate forum here Tuesday between Democratic Congressman Andy Kim and Republican opponent Bob Healey, something an audience of business people and candidates appreciated.

Kim and Healey sparred for about an hour about how to represent the 3rd Congressional District, obviously striving to keep their disagreements civil. That kind of approach to politics is disturbingly absent in the Congress and generally in the country, they said.

The Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey organized the forum, which brought out about 100 members. President Christina M. Renna said she wanted to have the event before Labor Day, after which campaigning gets more intense.

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The two major party candidates in the 3rd Congressional District campaign are Moorestown, Burlington County residents. Both men took time out to for kind words to each other, before answering a handful of prepared questions from the chamber.

Healey found plenty of opportunities to confront Kim on issues including inflation, energy policy, government regulation, and immigration.

The Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey on Tuesday held its 2022 forum for candidates in the 3rd Congressional District election. L-R: U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, Democrat; Christina M. Renna, president and chief executive officer of the chamber; and Republican challenger Bob Healey chat before the start of the hour-long event. The forum was held at the Westin Mt. Laurel on Fellowship Road. Photo/August 30, 2022.

Healey emphasized Kim’s voting record on President Joseph Biden’s legislative agenda. He ended up citing the president, by name, 14 times.

“Now, my opponent talks about being bipartisan,” Healey said. “Well, I don’t see it. I don’t see it because he’s voted 100 percent of the time with Joe Biden.”

Kim, by contrast, never mentioned Biden. He told chamber members that he came to the U.S. House of Representatives accepting he did not have all the answers.

OceanFirst Bank Vice President William Whelan of Cumberland County (left) chats Tuesday with Bob Healey, a Burlington County resident running for the U.S. House of Representatives from the 3rd Congressional District.  Healey and Democratic incumbent Andy Kim were taking part in a candidate forum in Mt. Laurel Township organized by the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey. Photo/August 30, 2022.

“I love this job,” Kim said. “And I’ve tried to do it with the utmost respect for our institutions of democracy and for this community that I would give my life for. I’ve served this country my entire career.”

Healey said the president has put the country in “deep, deep trouble.”

“We’ve seen that when you can’t get baby formula on a shelf,” Healey said. “We’ve seen it when you go to fill up your gas tank at a pump. If you’re a business owner, you’ve seen it by not being able to get your orders out the door because you don’t have the right product.

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