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JAMESTOWN – The two Republican candidates for the 57th State Senate seat faced-off one-on-one in a WNYNewsNow forum Thursday evening at the WNYNewsNow studios in Downtown Jamestown.
Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello and Allegany County Legislature Chairman Curtis Crandall exchanged opinions and proposed solutions during the one-hour exchange.
The two seemed close in their opinions on the issues, except for discussions of their campaign financing.
Both men said they are against legalizing recreational marijuana.
“New York has really fallen short on some of the issues that need to be addressed before you do that,” Crandall said, noting state lawmakers left out a lot of details. Crandall also said the plan would not be the financial boom to farmers that supporters claim.
Borrello said the move to legalize marijuana is politically and financially motivated.
“The rush to approve that was politics on the part of the Governor,” Borrello said. “There’s no common sense there.”
When asked about the state’s move to give drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants, both men strongly attacked the idea.
“I think it is just a horrible idea to begin with,” Borrello said. “It’s nefarious.” Borrello said it is a move to add more voters to the polls, which will lead to voter fraud and create a permanent class of dependent people.
“We can push back against this radical liberal agenda that comes out of New York City,” he said.
Crandall compared it to the so-called SAFE Act, in that it will keep being modified and built on to further the left’s agenda.
“This is not good legislation,” Crandall said.
Both candidates support vaccinations in the face of public health issues.
“I support vaccinations and I think there are times when it has to be done,” Crandall said.
Borrello noted the need to protect public health.
“We have a responsibility to public health,” he said. “It’s a human health issue and it has to be addressed.”
Both men took strong stands against New York’s expanded abortion laws.
“I think it’s horrific,” Borrello said. “It’s totally against everything I stand for. They want to wrap this up as a woman’s health issue, but it’s not.”
Crandall said he finds the new law appalling.
“I am appalled at the legislation that came out. If there’s anyway to repeal this, that should happen.”
Both men called for the repeal of the SAFE Act, but neither addressed killing the funding for it.
Both men also took a similar stance on windmills.
Borrello said he is against industrial windmills, which he said pays Wall Street LLCs, saying “This is a program that should not exist to begin with.”
“You or I wouldn’t put one in our backyard,” Crandall said, noting such projects are heavily subsidized.
Crandall said he believes the pendulum will swing back toward more conservative views and he wants to be in Albany to help that happen.
Borrello said his proven ability to get results through collaboration prepares him to get results in Albany.
The only contention of the night came when Crandall called Borrello a hand-picked candidate by three men in a room.
“This stinks a little bit. I can live with that, but I just think the people need to know, follow the money folks,” Crandall said.
“Mr. Crandall wants to get down in the mud on this issue,” Borrello said, noting the party would give the same support to Crandall if he had been the endorsed candidate.