Paul Tonko and Bob Dieterich greet each other before the League of Women Voters of Saratoga County's candidate forum on Tuesday, Oct. 23.
Photo by John Purcell.
continued Later, the candidates were refocused and asked what specific measures they would take to stimulate economic development and grow the economy.
Tonko agreed with the notion the government doesn’t create jobs, but said it can create an environment to spur job creation. The district, Tonko said, is a combination of traditional manufacturing, a high-tech economy and public sector jobs. He said research funding should be provided for clean energy and high-tech initiatives. Also, manufacturing should be modernized and workers trained to run the advanced machinery. Focusing on education is needed for these new careers, he said.
Dieterich said there are too many regulations holding businesses back from growth, along with a heavy tax burden.
“They are afraid to make a move, with all these regulations coming down at once they are afraid to do anything,” he said.
Dieterich said the government shouldn’t be creating jobs directly because the jobs disappear after the funding ends. If the jobs are meant to improve infrastructure, then he supported government efforts, however.
Tonko used his red card, which gives a candidate one chance to double their talking time, to explain the government’s role in stimulating economic development.
He said there are some jobs the private sector won’t tackle and also situations where government needs to “prime the pump” for development.
“If we continue to invest in research and product design and product discovery, we then have our best moments lying ahead,” Tonko said.
Dieterich used his extra time to respond and said the government “can’t do everything,” but it can do a lot. He said if the current path is continued then investments won’t be able to continue.
The redrawn 20th Congressional District covers most of the Greater Capital District, excluding northwestern parts of Saratoga County. The General Election is on Tuesday, Nov. 6.