Candidates for the U.S. House District 5 seat met to debate and discuss ideas at Monday night's Pottawatomie County Advocates for Voter Education forum.

Candidates for the U.S. House District 5 seat met to debate and discuss ideas at Monday night's Pottawatomie County Advocates for Voter Education forum.

Republican incumbent James Lankford began the evening by stating that his focus, if reelected, would be developing relationships between both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. Additionally, creating a budget is a top priority.

"The single biggest issue we have as a nation is that there is no plan to get out of debt," Lankford said.

Democratic candidate Tom Guild outlined his priorities as being bipartisan policies and maintaining social security and Medicare.

Independent candidate Pat Martin said prioritizing is important for him. The current establishment has America $16 trillion in debt because of unnecessary spending, due to a lack of prioritizing.

Additionally Martin wants to end overseas conflicts and bring our troops home.

"I'm looking for measurable solutions," he said. "If a solution is good, and can be measured as a good solution, I don't care if the person who proposed it has a little R by their name or a little D by their name, it's a good idea, and it works."

"That's what we need to be looking for," he added.

Robert Murphy, the libertarian candidate, said he wants freedom for people.

"Freedom for both the economy and your social life," he said.

Candidates were asked if they would cut Social Security or Medicare.

Guild said he would not cut Social Security or Medicare. Instead, he said he would let the Bush-era tax cuts expire, which reduce taxes for those making more than $250,000, and cut spending for the defense budget and social spending.

Lankford agreed that he would not cut Social Security or Medicare. However he had a different way of addressing the issue.

The Affordable Care Act will accelerate the rate at which Social Security will run out, Lankford said. He emphasized that a new plan is needed, but did not give any specifics in his allotted two minutes.

Martin said he would not cut Social Security or Medicare, and again specified that he would prioritize.

He would cut unnecessary spending among Congress and other government entities.

"My campaign would first focus on the mismanagement, the waste, the redundancy – the problems in Washington before any other burden is placed on the taxpayer, regardless of what tax bracket they fall into," Martin said.

Murphy did not specify if he would cut either program, however he said he would cut several departments, including the Departments of Education and Commerce. These are not included in the Constitution, he said.

Candidates were also asked their stance on immigration.

Murphy said immigration should be regulated. Immigrants will get jobs and spend money, which will help the economy.

"All we need to do is get the government out of the way," he said. "Immigration is not a problem in my eyes."

Martin said he would like to see illegal immigrants registered and eventually placed on a plan toward citizenship, while at the same time securing the borders and not allowing any more illegal immigrants to enter the county.

Lankford said he wants a "respectful" immigration policy, and secure borders. Every person must be treated with respect during immigration, he said.

Guild agreed that immigration should be reformed, however he did not specify a specific plan to change the system.

Murphy, when asked when life begins, said life begins at conception, but personhood begins at birth.

Murphy warned against the implications of unborn children being considered people. He suggested women would be required by the government to be tested monthly for pregnancies. If they were found pregnant, the government would regulate their medicines and eating habits, he added.

Martin, when asked the same question, said that issues such as abortion and contraception do not belong on the federal level. These are issues to be decided by the states, he said.

Martin added that he is against abortion being used as a form of birth control.

Lankford said he does believe life begins at conception, and that he is against abortion. He agreed with Martin in the idea that this should be a state-decided issue. He added that he knew Oklahoma would outlaw abortion.

Guild said he supports Roe v. Wade, the court case that made abortions legal across the United States. He said he does not support outlawing abortions across the board, including cases of rape and incest.

"It's a gut-wrenching decision in the best of circumstances," he said.

The general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 6.