Posted at: 10/19/2012 12:37 AM
Updated at: 10/19/2012 1:33 PM
By: Dan Levy
SARATOGA SPRINGS - Voters in the 43rd New York State Senate District will have a clear choice when they go to the polls on Nov. 6.
Saratoga County Clerk Kathy Marchione, a pro-life Republican, and Claverack Town Supervisor Robin Andrews, a pro-choice Democrat, are the two women hoping to succeed Roy McDonald in the Senate. Those women squared off in a civil debate Thursday night at Saratoga High School.
Of the 19 questions that came up during the one-hour debate, the question of marriage equality came up third.
"I don't believe who I marry or who I spend my life with is a legislative matter," said Andrews, who, after the legislature passed Marriage Equality in June 2011, was able to marry her same-sex partner after 15 years together.
Andrews agrees with Marchione that it's not the issue people care about.
"The critical issues facing this campaign," according to Marchione, "are jobs, taxes, and over-spending."
To set the record straight, Marchione says she would have entered the Senate race even if McDonald hadn't voted in favor of Marriage Equality.
"Roy McDonald was one of the most liberal Republican senators in his caucus," Marchione said. "There were many votes that Roy cast that I didn't agree with, but I'm not running against Roy."
Marchione defeated McDonald in a very close Republican primary election last month. Now she and Andrews are determined to replace McDonald in what is considered a very conservative district.
"Actually, in my town, I was elected the first Democrat in 35 years," Andrews pointed out. "The demographics are almost exactly the same. So I know what it takes and I know how to work across the aisles to get it done."
Marchione, who labels "dysfunction and corruption in Albany" as the biggest problems to tackle, says she can get things done because she, "has ideas on how I want to work in Albany. I'm honest, I'm hard working, and I have experience in government and a lot of proven leadership."
Marchione says if she gets to work in Albany, she would vote down any increase in minimum wage, believing it will force businesses out of the state.
"Seventy percent of the people making minimum wage are in high school or college," she said. "It's their first jobs."
But Andrews disagrees with Marchione's position and her numbers.
"The statistics I've looked at show that 80 percent of the minimum wage earners are over age 20 and not high school kids that are earning this money."
Andrews also favors hiking the minimum wage because she says the cost of living is higher in New York then in most other states.
There are also issues on which the candidates agree. Both of them would vote "no" on a legislative pay raise. Both would vote "no" on a proposal to raise Thruway tolls 45 percent for truck drivers.
Neither sees a reason for additional gun laws, although Marchione has the endorsement of the National Rifle Association.
Both women would like to hold off on fracking until all the scientific evidence is in.