Monday August 20, 2012

SPRINGFIELD -- In a heated debate, 1st Congressional District challengers Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. and Bill Shein attacked incumbent U.S. Rep. Richard Neal's record of accepting money from major donors and decried what they described as a lack of serious leadership during the economic collapse of 2008.

During the debate, hosted by WGBY in Springfield and recorded earlier Monday for broadcast at 8 p.m., Neal stood behind his record.

"I've worked with the secretary of the Treasury and I've worked with Martha Coakley repeatedly on the mortgage foreclosure issue," Neal said.

Neal said his campaign donors are representative of the people and employers he represents.

"Every time there has been a consumer question raised over the course of my career, I've sided with the consumer," he said.

Shein and Nuciforo disagreed.

"It's been exhausting to have to correct the record on Congressman Neal's fundraising virtually every time he's asked about it," Shein said. "More than 90 percent of the money he has raised has come from corporate PACs, for corporate lobbyists that throw fundraisers for Congressman Neal at their offices in Washington at fancy restaurants. It is the overwhelming amount of money that he raises and what I've argued in the campaign is that that money is drowning out the ideas that we need."

The debate, recorded at 2 p.m. on Monday, is televised on WGBY at 8 p.m.


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It will also be broadcast on New England Public Radio, 106.1 FM, in the Pittsfield area.

This story will be updated in future editions of The Eagle.