Candidates for State Senate discussed a range of issues important to constituents at a recent debate.
The event—held at the Hudson Valley Cerebral Palsy Association in Southeast, and co-hosted by the League of Women Voters and the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce—featured hopefuls running for the Putnam County Legislature, as well as New York State Assembly and New York State Legislature. Moderator Bruce Apar of Chase Media Group read questions that audience members submitted. Each candidate had 90 seconds to respond.
Here are snippets (in the order they answered) of responses from 40th State Senate District candidates Greg Ball, the Republican incumbent, and Justin Wagner, the Democratic pick:
(Question 1) Do you believe that New York State firearms laws are sufficient to regulate firearm ownership, or do you feel that further restrictions are needed with new laws, such as microstamping?Ball Wagner
- It goes back to, as a candidate, you can make all sorts of promises. As your state senator I have the most independent voting record in the New York State Senate. That's by a non-partisan group.
- When it comes to common sense legislation, to go after illegal guns and go after criminals and put people behind bars and go after the illegal black market ... I've been there. I was the guy who introduced the bill to make sure that we take those firearms out of the hands of those who commit domestic violence.
- Let's remember this on the social issues, which many of you may have fun talking about around dinner tables or debates like this: Two million people have not left this state because of the social issues. Two million people have left this state because of an inhospitable environment that is unaffordable to working families and seniors and young professionals.
- The social issues that divide us are not my priority as your state senator. I'm here to work to create jobs, work with this good governor to pass balanced budgets, work to repeal the regulations and the fees that are crippling small business owners, and the great thing is I have the track record to prove it.
- So while some of these issues are interesting in a debate, as your state senator, my complete focus is reversing the taxes, creating jobs and working with this governor to get this state back on track.
- I don't think gun violence is a fun issue for folks across the country who are seeing this spate of shootings at movie theaters, at schools, people are wondering are their kids going to be in the line of fire? It's not a fun issue. It's a serious issue.
- I grew up in Dutchess County and hunting is a way of life, but we're not talking about any type of sportsman's rights, we're talking about illegal guns. Senator Ball in the assembly has voted against banning the sale and possession of 50-caliber weapons, he's voted against banning the sale and possession of cop-killer bullets, and right now there's a proposal in front of the assembly and the senate, which I think is common sense.
- There's a proposal to limit the number of handguns you can buy in the State of New York to 12 a year. I favor this proposal, and it's not just academic, it's not just fun. Most of our gun violence here in this state occurs on the black market. People that buy in bulk and sell these guns in the back alleys. We need to crackdown on illegal guns and we can do it with common sense proposals.
- Senator Ball mentioned something about an independent voting record. The Conservative Party of New York, no liberal bastion, ranked everyone's voting record in the state senate ... Senator Ball had the most extreme, right-wing voting record of all senators. That does not fit the Hudson Valley. The Hudson Valley wants pragmatism and common sense, not extremism.