Local, state candidates present stances at political forum

Geneseo welcomed candidates running for New York State’s Supreme Court, Senate, Assembly and the Congressional District at a forum on Wednesday Oct. 17 to discuss their respective campaigns.

In the forum’s first segment, NYS Supreme Court candidates voiced their arguments in favor of their bids for election.

Attorney Sean Gleason began by stressing his lifelong dedication to hard work, and presented ideas for cost-saving techniques including trying cases in prisons rather than in courtrooms.

Monroe County Supreme Court Justice Gail Donofrio said her “broad experience” in private practice and as a judge will “benefit both lawyers and litigates” should she be elected.

According to East Rochester, N.Y. Town Justice Scott Odorisi, the position of Supreme Court judge is a “form of community service” because it allows the acting judge to leave a lasting impression on the justice system that affects all citizens.

Incumbent NYS Supreme Court Justice David Michael Barry said to voters that his 11 years as a judge have provided him with sufficient experience to continue fulfilling his duties.

In the second segment, candidates for state senate and assembly presented their cases.

Unopposed senatorial candidate Sen. Patrick Gallivan reminded the audience of his successful last two years in office by highlighting his tax cuts for the middle class and the ethics reforms her put forth.

Conservative radio host Bill Nojay, candidate for NYS Assembly, said, “We must lower taxes and make tough decisions;.We are not going to get out by fighting, but by acknowledging our problems and making decisions through bipartisan effort.”

Democratic candidate Randy Weaver took the podium, arguing that “maintaining jobs is more important than creating them.”

In regards to higher education, Gallivan said he supports protected funding for schools in the State University of New York system. While Weaver said he agrees, he added that families should plan ahead for price inflation each year. Nojay stressed the importance of sustaining programs that will better prepare college graduates for the job market.

On hydrofracking, Gallivan and Nojay both said that the research should be left to the “professionals,” and that officials should base their decisions on evidence from these professionals. Weaver, however, said he was “not afraid to say [he is] not in favor of it.”

Regarding state immigration reform, the candidates generally agreed with one another, and said that farmers in the region are forced to employ illegal immigrant workers out of necessity.

“Turning farmers into criminals creates a hostile environment for the production of our food,” Nojay said. They said, however, that changes should be made at the federal level.

The forum’s final segment included three candidates running for the position of Livingston County District Attorney.

Republican candidate Steve Sessler declared his dedication to justice, which he defines as a “state of affairs that exists when the guilty will not escape and the innocent will not suffer.”

Incumbent Democratic candidate Greg McCaffrey said that he “understands what clients are going through” because has had the opportunity to defend college clients in the past.

Republican candidate Eric Schiener spoke about his experience as a prosecutor, his dedication, and his “commitment to keeping criminals off the streets.”

Regarding the treatment of college students, Sessler and Schiener agreed that although students are very important to this community, there would be no impartiality in regards to justice.

McCaffrey said, “I understand what it is like to be a college student. Mistakes happen.” He said, however, that he would not be soft on the students.