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21st Congressional candidates debate at Albany Law School

Instead, Buhrmaster said he would like to focus on doing something with the medical liability physicians are faced with in terms of the insurance they have to pay to keep their practices going, as to ensure more doctors stay in the region.

In his answer, Tonko said, "The fundamental goal has got to be universal health care," and later proclaimed that he believes health care is a right. He expressed that he believes in the single-payer health plan and that it gets us into a good thinking process.

When the topic switched to war, Buhrmaster said that the surge was working, and still is working and that instead of pulling out based on what members of Congress think, he would rely on the people on the ground. Tonko said that the war was entered into under false pretenses and that he believes we need to begin a plan to withdrawal.

Both candidates seemed to feel that terrorism is the single biggest threat to the country at the time.

In speaking of immigration, Tonko said," I think we need to look into the disinvestment in those that work with undocumented individuals," but that we should work to make the process for individuals becoming citizens smoother so that the country can benefit from the skills they can provide. Buhrmaster said that we have solid rules in place, but that they need to be enforced.

The single rebuttal of the night came when the issue of privatized social security came up as Buhrmaster said he thinks there needs to be in a system in place that guarantees senior citizens a form of security if the system should crumble and in Tonko's rebuttal, he said he fears that the security of that system is risky.

Towards the end of the night, a few questions from the audience were entertained, the main topic being loan forgiveness. In the past, Tonko has pledged he plans to work on a loan forgiveness plan for individuals working to achieve a higher education, as to strengthen the education of people throughout the country, specifically in areas of engineering. When Roney asked if Tonko would continue to pursue that given the current economic hardships, Tonko said he would. Buhrmaster said that he does not think a loan forgiveness plan is entirely feasible given the economic situation, and that he thinks financial forgiveness would be better suitable for doctors and lawyers.

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