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After false start, candidates debate

Democrat Phil Steck and Republican Jennifer Whalen came face to face at a brief debate, Wednesday Oct. 24.

Democrat Phil Steck and Republican Jennifer Whalen came face to face at a brief debate, Wednesday Oct. 24. Photo by Zan Strumfeld.

— As for the minimum wage, both candidates agreed that it too should be increased.

“I feel that $7.25 is not a lot of money, especially when gas is almost $5 a gallon and it practically costs you a fortune to get to work today as it is,” Whalen said. “I believe a better wage fields a more productive worker. I also feel that if people are paid more, they will put more into the economy.”

Whalen added that she would like to see businesses get tax credits for “taking people off the employment rolls.”

“If you’re a vet or someone that’s unemployed, they should get a tax credit for creating a new job and also an additional tax credit for taking an unemployed person or a vet off the employment rolls. And then I think it’s a win-win situation for everybody and why not,” Whalen said.

Although Steck said he supports an increase in minimum wage without any conditions, he said that Whalen has “stated a different position than the position that she stated today.” Whalen proceeded to interrupt Steck, claiming that he was wrong.

Both candidates also said they support campaign finance reform as long as it does not burden the taxpayer.

However, Steck took this time to defend against Whalen’s opening statement remarks about the Lopez scandal. In her opening statement, Whalen said she spoke out against Lopez and wanted him out of office when the scandal occurred. She said that all Steck did was “send a press release.” In his defense, Steck said when the scandal occurred he said Lopez should resign. Steck also said he agreed with Gov. Andrew Cuomo that there should be a further investigation regarding the scandal.

One issue the candidates disagreed on was the Scaffold Law – a law that has contractors and employers liable for elevation-related injuries, like falling, for construction workers. While Steck said he was in support of the law, Whalen wants to repeal it.

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