Candidates for the New York State Senate got a chance to meet Ulster County business leaders at a Chamber of Commerce debate held in Kingston Tuesday morning.
Little disagreement was heard from the speakers on topics including casino gambling, mandate reform, and property tax relief. Each expressed support for small businesses, and promised bipartisan cooperation in the state legislature
“I think the best person you send to the senate is the one speaking the loudest on her issues,” said Cecelia Tkaczyk, a Democrat running for the new 46th District against George Amedore. An upstate farmer, Tkaczyk advocates raising the minimum wage and campaign finance reform.
“It's not about Republican or Democrat,” said Republican Amedore. “Politics divides – we need unity, because we are Americans. When there was one-party rule in Albany two years ago, we got $14 billion in tax increases.”
“Talking about mandate relief, let's look at the number one issue that causes us trouble,” noted Republican incumbent William Larkin, Jr., running for reelection against Democrat Christopher Eachus in the 39th District.
“The State of New York spends $1 billion on Medicaid a week, the largest in the United States of America” he said.
Eachus, an Orange County legislator, had statistics of his own.
“The Tax Foundation of New York told us that New York State is 50 out of 50 in taxes and fees,” he said. “To be 50 out of 50 is terrible – something needs to be done, more than talk at this point.”
“I've been in Albany long enough to have seen the good, the bad and the ugly,” said Republican incumbent James Seward. “Things are pretty good right now, in terms of communication and cooperation” he said. “I'm proud to say we work closely with Governor Cuomo to get results.”
Seward, who has held his seat since 1987, is challenged by newcomer Howard Leib for the 51st District. Democrat Leib did not appear at the Ulster Chamber debate Tuesday morning.
Taken together, the three senate races represent newly realigned districts which split Ulster County into a confusing array. Republican John Bonacic is running unopposed in the 42nd District.