DENNIS—Republican challenger Peter Tedeschi of Nrwell called for term limits and pointed to Cong. Rep. William Keating as a “career politician” at Saturday’s League of Women Voters of the Cape Cod Area debate.

Keating, who lives in Bourne, is a former Norfolk District Attorney and first elected to Congress in 2010. Tedeschi, a South Shore native, is the former president and chief executive officer of his family’s 200-store convenience store chain, Tedeschi Food Shops. The company was successful and also strongly supported programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Tedeschi said.

As a way to unlock potential House opposition to Massachusetts initiatives, Tedeschi called for more reach across party lines and getting to know other House members. Keating, in turn, called for more transparency and more hearings.

On easing visa blocks for foreign-born seasonal workers, Keating said the Trump administration has instituted a convoluted process that can be easily fixed but needs a willing majority in the House. Tedeschi said his company has experienced new shortages with their foreign workers and that he appreciates that tourism is the Cape’s “economic engine.” “But it’s not just about the visas,” Tedeschi said. He called for better bridges to the Cape, improving nitrogen levels in the water and more workforce housing.

Both Tedeschi and Keating opposed the separation of immigrant families. Keating called for a change in the House majority to improve checks and balances, while Tedeschi said he would challenge the President.

“The separation of children at the border is not about who we are and it’s just not right,” Tedeschi said. He said he is in favor of giving a pathway to citizenship if immigrants can pay their own way and respect U.S. laws. But public safety of U.S. citizens is a priority, by securing borders and making sure there are no safe harbors for anyone with intentions to do harm, Tedeschi said. “That’s just wrong, and you deserve better,” he said.

Both candidates generally supported insurance coverage for pre-existing health conditions, more services for addictions and mental health conditions, and preventing voter suppression.

“This is the most important election in my lifetime,” Keating said to attendees. “Our basic values are threatened.”

Both called for voters to get to the polls before an estimated 300 people at the Cape Cinema forum, co-sponsored by Cape Cod Media Group, which owns the Cape Cod Times. The debate was the first of the campaign.

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS QUESTIONAIRE

Tedeschi responded, but Keating did not.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Keating has reported raising $981,555 since Jan. 1, 2017, including $502,800 from political action committees, and spending $355,209 on his campaign.

Tedeschi has reported raising $490,672, including $200,000 in a loan from himself and $9,450 from political action committees, and spending $469,900.

KEATING DONORS

TEDESCHI DONORS

CLICK ON THE MAP FOR A LIST OF COMMUNITIES IN THE DISTRICT

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NATIONAL COVERAGE

REGISTER TO VOTE

Sign up online, by mail or in person. Any citizen who will turn 18 by Nov. 6 is eligible. The deadline is Oct. 17; city and town clerks will stay open until 8 p.m. on the last day. Early voting begins Oct. 22 and ends Nov. 2.

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