109th Assembly, 43rd Senate candidates debate

Wasielewski disagreed. "We live in a relatively successful areabut people are hurting," he said. "Things aren't as rosy as you might picture them."

One sector of economic growth would be the expanding green economy. Reilly said that the state needs a firm executive commitment from the Governor's office, akin to Kennedy's pledge to put a man on the moon. Wasielewski agreed the development of green energy could be a significant force in job creation. Neither offered specific plans to stimulate the creations of a green economy in the area.

On the side of government spending, both candidates said they would like to decrease the amount the state wastes on Medicare fraud. Reilly went a step further, saying that insurance company fees draw about $7 billion from Medicare. He said a universal health-care system should be considered.

"Right now we're putting Band-Aids on the problem, to simply no effect," he said.

Albany politics were roundly scoffed at. Wasielewski pledged to remain an independent voice in the legislature and, if elected, pledged not to seek more than three terms in office so as not to fall prey to special interests or lobbyists.

Reilly said he has been playing by his own rules since he arrived in the Assembly.

"I remain independent of political organizations and parties," he said. "Though I am a Democrat and have a Democratic philosophy, no one tells me what to do in state government."

One area in which the two did disagree was in how school taxes should be controlled. Reilly supports a circuit breaker approach, in which property owners would be granted relief when their taxes rise above a certain percentage of their income, while Wasielewski is endorsing a spending cap like that proposed by Gov. David Paterson.

"The circuit breaker doesn't address the core issue here, which is spending," said Wasielewski. "More money alone is not the solution to any problem in the world. I think the fundamental problem comes down to how school money is spent, not collecting more taxes."

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