The forum with an empty seat - Updated

Edward Gilbert and Roy McDonald showed for the forum, Kathleen Marchione sent a statement.

Edward Gilbert and Roy McDonald showed for the forum, Kathleen Marchione sent a statement. Photo by Julie Cushine-Rigg.

— Voters in the newly redrawn 43rd State Senate District had a chance to hear from candidates at a League of Women Voters candidate forum on Thursday, Sept.6.

Well, they heard from some of the candidates. Incumbent Roy McDonald and Edward Gilbert showed, but Kathleen Marchione, who is primarying McDonald on the Republican line and Gilbert on the Conservative line, did not. She instead sent a statement.

“It’s a fair debate (one scheduled for Sept. 11) with Roy McDonald that the voters in the 43rdSenate District deserve, unfortunately tonight’s debate is not fair,” said Marchione in the statement read by forum moderator Donna Dardaris, secretary for the LWV of Saratoga County and membership chairwoman.

Marchione recently accused Gilbert and McDonald of conspiring against her and said that by attending the forum, it would have had her entering a “potential ambush.”

Candidates focus on economy

The forum went ahead, however, with the two candidates who will not be facing one another in the Thursday, Sept. 13, primary.

Gilbert began by saying that he’s not a “career politician,” but rather a resident, neighbor and father concerned about the future of the state. He suggested reining in spending and reforming state government to restore economic prosperity.

“We need to ensure quality of life and safe and secure neighborhoods. And we need to guarantee better futures for our children,” said Gilbert.

He then spoke of his two daughters who are in college and wondered what would be waiting for them upon graduation. He also said that the state needs to become a destination again – not a departure.

McDonald also opened on an economic theme and citied his work in office, including the elimination of property taxes in the town of Wilton for nearly three decades when he was supervisor.

“Let nobody mislead you … it’s about economics when we start talking about all the other things — but not talking about things that are the most important. Right now … the most important thing is the economic health of our community,” said McDonald.

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