Missing in action: Republican Ross Feinberg gives an opening statement during last week’s scheduled 5th Senatorial District debate against Democratic Sen. John Sabatina Jr. His opponent did not attend. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO
A 5th Senatorial District debate took place last week, but only one of the two candidates participated.
Republican Ross Feinberg has been trying to get Democratic Sen. John Sabatina Jr. to debate him since the primary ended in late April.
Sabatina has shown no interest in debating, so Feinberg set the date, time and location for a debate, and invited the incumbent to join him.
Feinberg was there last Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at Curran’s Irish Inn in Tacony, but Sabatina did not attend. Nevertheless, Feinberg gave opening and closing statements, and answered questions from the scheduled moderator, Times editor Tom Waring.
The Feinberg supporters in the crowd declared him the winner of the debate.
Feinberg, a 47-year-old who lives in Burholme, said Sabatina is counting on being a Philadelphia Democrat to waltz to re-election.
“He feels entitled,” he said.
Feinberg said Sabatina should have taken part to support his record, but added that his opponent “doesn’t have a leg to stand on.”
“I’m disappointed in Sabatina,” he said.
Feinberg described Sabatina as a “nice guy,” but too passive to be effective. He labels himself as aggressive.
“We need a change,” he said.
Feinberg is running on a platform to make the Northeast, Port Richmond and Bridesburg great again. He also touts “jobs, jobs, jobs.”
If elected, he would work to bring good jobs to the district, oppose higher taxes and direct state money to police officers, firefighters, schools and roads. He wants to ease regulations to create a business-friendly atmosphere.
On proposals to increase the minimum wage, Feinberg plans to talk to businesses to see what they think. He believes it’s the “American way” to work hard and earn promotions and higher pay in a company. He thinks supporters of a higher minimum wage should revisit their proposals.
“Fifteen dollars an hour is outrageous,” he said.
As for a bill sponsored by state Rep. Martina White to hold sanctuary cities liable for damages caused by illegal immigrants, he said he supports it “100 percent.”
Feinberg backs another White bill, one that would prohibit municipalities from releasing the names of police officers in on-duty shootings until an investigation is complete.
In regard to a bill sponsored by state Rep. John Taylor that would install speed cameras on Roosevelt Boulevard, he’s “all for it.”
The district includes the Delaware River waterfront, and Feinberg opposes a plan to build a new prison on ground there.
If Feinberg wins the race, he would serve in a Republican majority. The GOP has a chance to claim a super-majority depending on the outcome of the Nov. 8 election. At present, all of the city’s senators are Democrats.
“Philadelphia needs a Republican senator,” he said.
Feinberg supports litigation that would prevent the city beverage tax from being implemented, as scheduled, on Jan. 1. He calls it “crippling” for businesses and consumers. He noted that some of the money would go to the city general fund rather than, as originally planned, toward universal pre-k education. He’d rather fix existing problems in public schools before establishing a pre-k curriculum. He describes public schools in the city as “a mess.”
In the presidential election, Feinberg is a strong supporter of Donald Trump. He cites Trump’s successes in business, adding that the nation’s enemies will be “shaking in their boots” if he becomes president. ••