Candidates in 2 northern NY races debate - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Candidates in 2 northern NY races debate

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Matt Doheny Matt Doheny
Rep. Bill Owens Rep. Bill Owens

One debate-- two different races. The two candidates vying to represent New York's North Country in Congress squared off again Wednesday night. And so did the two men looking to replace outgoing Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward.

In their second debate, Rep. Bill Owens, D-New York, and Republican challenger Matt Doheny focused mostly on the economy, bipartisanship and health care, which drew the biggest response during the hour-long debate hosted by the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce.

"I want to repeal Obama Care," Doheny said.

Doheny has been critical of Owens' support for the bill. The Watertown businessman believes it will actually lead to higher costs and decreased care.

"Replace Obamacare with common sense measures, dealing with tort reform, dealing with insurance across state lines, dealing with affordability, all of those things we can have in the 21st century, but unfortunately the heavy-handed government will not allow us to have it with Obamacare," Doheny said.

Owens admits the health care reform bill does need some tweaking, but says overall it achieves its purpose.

"The affordable health care acts does a number of things and when you talk about repeal without specifying how you would replace, you do not describe how you would keep kids under 26 insured, how you would prevent insurance companies from failing to cover people recovering from preexisting conditions," Owens said.

The debate also featured the race for the state's 114th Assembly District, the seat being vacated by Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward. Democrat Dennis Tarantino, a lawyer from Glens Falls, is challenging Queensbury's Republican Supervisor Dan Stec. They focused on the economy. The two disagree on many issues on how to jump start it, including a plan to raise the state's minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.50.

"It will lead for many small businesses and farmers in the district to hire fewer people or even lay people off," Stec said.

"We have individuals who need the raise. There are people, just not high school students, who work at minimum wage. It is just above the poverty level," Tarantino said.

Another big issue-- tourism dollars. Tarantino supports the recent decision by the Cuomo Administration to spend $50 million to open up 69,000 acres in the Adirondack Park. But his Republican challenger disagrees, as local municipalities continue to fund the financial war against invasive species in Lake George and Lake Champlain.

"I personally think that the state should divert some of its environmental protection funds away from the purchase of some property and divert them to property they already own," Stec said.

There are no more debates scheduled between Stec and Tarantino. Doheny and Owens plan to square off two more times.

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