PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — In less than one week, incumbent Senator Jack Reed will face off against Republican challenger Mark Zaccaria for one of Rhode Island’s seats in the U.S. Senate.
Democrat Jack Reed is a lawyer and West Point graduate who’s been serving in the Senate since 1996. Zaccaria, a Republican, served in the Air Force and now runs a small consultancy out of his home.
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With ISIS establishing themselves in Iraq and Syria, President Barack Obama has authorized arming Syrian rebels to fight back. Sen. Jack Reed supports that decision.
“They’ll go in and help us I hope not only defeat the Assad regime, but also the radical Islamists that are in Syria today,” he said.
Zaccaria said arming the rebels doesn’t go far enough, and believes American boots are needed on the ground.
“If we’re going to equip the Syrian army, let’s equip them, train them, be there with them,” Zaccaria explained.
On the domestic side of things, Reed supports extending unemployment benefits past six months, saying “it would help people looking for work, but it would also help the economy.”
Zaccaria, on the other hand, opposes extending benefits for the unemployed.
“Rather than extend it and make it a new endless benefit, what I suggest is let’s work on that time period to when you can get a job,” he said.
The candidates also disagree on the federal minimum wage. Zaccaria is against raising it to $10.10 per hour, fearing inflation.
“What’s that going to do to the price of all the consumer items that people have to buy?” he asked.
Reed believes it’s the right move.
“We have to make sure people not only get a chance to work, but work that rewards them, literally,” Reed said. “Raising the minimum wage would be a very effective way of doing that.”
Both candidates support reducing the federal corporate tax rate, in hopes of growing businesses and adding jobs.