Campus to host state senate debate

On Wednesday Oct. 1, students at Geneseo will have the opportunity to watch N.Y. Sen. Dale Volker and Erie County legislator Kathy Konst take the stage to discuss issues concerning New York's 59th senate district.

Incumbent Dale Volker, a Republican state senator since 1975, won his primary contest against David DiPetro with 58 percent of the vote. Democrat Kathy Konst defeated her endorsed opponent, Timothy Pawarski, with 77 percent of the primary vote. Volker and Konst will now focus on competing against each other in the coming weeks.

Konst was in Geneseo on Friday campaigning on Main Street and later sitting down to talk with students at Mattie's Cafe. She introduced herself as a "fiscal conservative" who wants to "clean up Albany." Although she is facing a 33-year incumbent in a conservative district, she said she expects to win.

"I'm about the people," Konst said. "If you deal with the issues it doesn't matter what party you're from, because people will understand that you're about helping them. That's how I won twice in a very conservative county."

According to Volker campaign spokesman Craig Miller, "Dale Volker has, over 30 years, proven his commitment to the SUNY system, especially to schools like Geneseo, which he recently secured $14 million for, while his opponent has virtually no experience negotiating at the state senate level."

Mirroring the presidential campaign, a major point of contention between the two candidates is experience versus change. Konst said Volker has been in the senate too long.

"Volker's not a bad guy, but we need change in Albany and he's been there for over 30 years," Konst said. "It's time to change the people in Albany."

"Dale's seniority has a great positive effect on upstate New York in the senate," said Miller.Konst told members of the district to ask themselves what Volker has done for them. "Twenty million [dollars] that should have gotten to upstate farmers found its way to the Bronx, and Volker let them do that," she said.

She said she differs from Volker in that she "would work for legislation to keep small business here and invest in our schools to keep students here after they graduate. This is how you build the economy."

According to Miller, "Dale's viewpoint has been to invest in college and business so kids don't leave when they graduate."

Konst and Volker will meet in the Union Ballroom at 7 p.m. on Oct. 1.