Jenne, Walczyk Debate North Country Issues

Jenne, Walczyk Debate North Country Issues

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In front of a crowd of voters at SUNY Canton, incumbent 116th Assemblywoman Addie Jenne and opponent Mark Walczyk debated issues such as the dairy industry, jobs and helping small businesses.

"I work personally with the small business throughout this district to help them," Democrat Jenne said, "whether they're having difficulty with red tape or they're trying to figure out a challenge that they're having."

"It's not the weather, it's the business climate that we've created and it's the business climate that Albany's created," Walczyk, a Republican, said, "so I want to fight that and I want to fight for small business in northern New York."

Jenne and Walczyk criticized each other when it came down to how each has handled budget situations. 

Walczyk talked about how Jenne has voted in the past on money for schools.

"They saved that on the back of the taxpayers here in northern New York," he said. "What did they do? They created the Gap Elimination Adjustment, or the GEA as you might have heard. My opponent voted for it. It was one of the first things she did in the Assembly."

Jenne fired back on how Walczyk has handled the budget as a Watertown city council member.

"We had to make a lot of cuts to balance the budget, something I don't believe my opponent has done," she said. "His work on city council has been to draw down reserves and not make the tough decisions. I don't have faith that he'll be able to make the tough decisions for our communities if faced with it in the New York State Assembly."

One thing both candidates agreed on is getting rid of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's programs that pit different regions of the state against each other for regional economic development money. Watertown won $10 million of it last year.

"The governor should get rid of his economic development councils and put them into programs that actually make a difference in upstate New York," Jenne said.

"Scrap them -- picking winners and losers is not the right thing to do for politicians with your taxpayer dollars," Walczyk said. "It's proven to breed corruption in Albany."

Jenne and Walczyk also both said something needs to be done about Plan 2014, which regulates water levels on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario.

7 News reporter Keith Benman was one of three journalists on the debate panel.

Election Day is November 6.

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