State Senate Candidates Debate
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At the Rochester Riverside Convention Center: A noon hour showdown; a difference of opinion.
"There's a distinction between us on whether or not women should be paid an equal amount for comparable work., There's something called the Fair Pay Act. I support it. My opponent voted against it. I believe a woman should be able to make her own reproductive health decisions. My opponent disagrees," said Ted O'Brien, (D).
"There are distinct differences between my opponent and I. One thing I can tell you is we share a passion for Upstate New York," said Sean Hanna, (R).
Hanna and O'Brien agree on some of New York's issues. Taxes are too high. The economy is in the dumps.
"You look around. You still see businesses struggling. You still see families struggling, and it all comes back to spending," Hanna said.
"I love this community, but I'm frustrated by an economy that seems to be working against middle class families," said O'Brien.
On hot-topic issues like hydrofracking, both take a wait and see approach.
"If we don't devote enough resources to make sure that processes used to extract gases from the share is done safely, then I don't think we should do it. But right now, natural gas isn't going anywhewre. Let's do it right," O'Brien said.
"I will study it carefully, and if in my view, it suffiently protects the environment, if the DEC does it's job well I'll support it, if it does not then I won't," Hanna said.
Both candidates agree on many of the problems facing New York State. They differ on solutions.
"What will you do specifically to see that Upstate's positions are heard and respected?" was one question.
Hanna says he's not afraid to take on the system.
"The most important thing I have is the willingness to take political heat. I couldn't care less what New York City kingpins have to say."
He says giving Upstate a voice in the Senate means keeping the district in Republican hands. O'Brien digresses.
"We've been saying since the beginning of the campaign, that Sean Hanna is to the right extreme of his party, his voting record in the Assembly."
"You have to understand. My opponent is a former Democratic political operative. He understands the drill. What you so is you paint your opponent with labels," Hanna said.
The 55th State Senate District seat is open because Republican state Senator Jim Alesi decided not to run again. As one man put it while leaving, I didn't know who I would vote for coming in. I don't know who I'll vote for coming out.