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Eastchester Candidates Clash in Debate

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. — A debate at the Eastchester Town Hall pitted the candidates for District 10 county legislator, both experienced politicians fighting to represent Tuckahoe and parts of Eastchester and New Rochelle on the county Board of Legislators.

On one side, incumbent Sheila Marcotte, running in the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines, has spent years in the Tuckahoe and Eastchester boards, before being elected 16 months ago. On the other side, backed by the Democratic and Working Families parties, challenger John Fitzpatrick has recently stepped out as Tuckahoe’s mayor, after also being a village trustee.

The two exchanged stinging remarks at Sunday’s debate, starting when an Eastchester resident asked whether they support County Executive Rob Astorino’s proposal that unions pay for their health care benefits. After Fitzpatrick called it “a reasonable negotiation,” Marcotte said she’s “very much in favor” and that his opponent had avoided the question.

“He’s union. He’s not going to tell you yes or no,” Marcotte said, referring to Fitzpatrick being a representative of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Marcotte again stressed that her priority is to bring more fiscal responsibility to the county, a trademark of her campaign.

“We can’t continue down the spending trend that is going on,” she said.

She blamed Fitzpatrick for credit rating agency Moody’s downgrading Tuckahoe from A1 to A2 rate last year.

“It costs more now for the Village of Tuckahoe to borrow money,” she said.

Fitzpatrick said residents would pay more taxes if Tuckahoe didn’t borrow money, noting the village did reduce spending and was successful in attracting business.

“We needed to take a certain amount to relief the tax burden,” Fitzpatrick said.

He also defended spending money in infrastructure projects that solve problems like flooding, and said that the county government has been ineffective.

“People think that county government does nothing because it doesn’t do anything right now,” he said, adding that Marcotte is incapable to stand up against Astorino, also a Republican.

“The moments Astorino throws everything out, those are the moments we need somebody that’s not going to be just a ‘yes, man,’” he said.

The event, which was organized by the League of Women Voters, also included a debate of candidates for Eastchester councilman and for county legislator representing District 15, which covers Bronxville and a section of Yonkers.

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