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Candidates Square Off In New Rochelle Debate

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Seven candidates exchanged ideas about political issues Monday during the New Rochelle League of Women Voters’ candidate forum.

Candidates for state Assembly, state Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives discussed their views on such topics as education, ways to save the environment, campaign finance reform, property taxes, budgets and tax caps.

State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) said she felt education was important, and was proud of her efforts to help citizens have an easier time registering to vote.

“I’m proud of my voter reform registration,” she said. Stewart-Cousins is running unopposed for re-election in the 35th Senate District.

Assembly member Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale) said she had done a lot to help prevent sexual assaults and to strengthen education during today’s tough economic times.

“I’ve worked very hard at being an effective and top legislator,” she said. Paulin, in the 88th Assembly District, also is uopposed for re-election.

U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-Bronx) said his 12 years in office are a result of how much voters feel he has produced.

“I do have a record of results,” he said.

Joseph McLaughlin, the Republican challenger to Engel in the 16th Congressional District, said the process of government in which officials have control was unfair to citizens.

“I’m a small-government guy,” he said.

Joseph Diaferia, the Green Party candidate in the 16th Congressional District, said government needs to focus on more important things.

“I believe this government needs to reorganize our priorities,” he said.

In the 91st Assembly District race, candidate William "Bill" Villanova (R-Port Chester) said his position as deputy supervisor of the Town of Rye was a result of the support people have for him.

His opponent, Democrat Steven Otis of Rye, said his experience at all levels of government fit him for the seat.

“I have long experience in state government,” Otis said. He most recently served as chief of staff for retiring state Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer.

Villanova and Otis are competing for the seat being vacated by Assembly member George Latimer (D-Rye), who is running to replace Oppenheimer in the 37th Senate District.

Latimer and his Republican opponent, Bob Cohen of New Rochelle, did not attend because of a scheduling conflict, the league said.

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