The Enterprise asked the three Republican candidates in the race for New York's 115th Assembly District where they stand on several big issues. Some, like same-sex marriage, are already law in this state. Others, like hydraulic fracturing, are on the horizon, and still others, like medical marijuana, could be.
Some answers have been edited for space. To read full responses, visit the News Notebook blog at www.adirondackdailyenterprise.com/page/blogs.listAll/display/36/Chris-Morris.html.
Candidate answers are listed in alphabetical order by last name.
From left: David Kimmel, Karen Bisso, Janet Duprey
Karen Bisso: Not an issue that has anything to do with the 115th Assembly District. It is a local issue.
Janet Duprey: I support the good-paying jobs and increased state revenue created by the hydrofracking industry that will lead to reduced cost for fuel, but we must be assured the watershed areas will be kept safe. I'm waiting to see a printed bill and the recommendation of the experts to make a final decision, but I am leaning in favor of hydraulic fracturing.
David Kimmel: For it, both horizontal and vertical. We should use water, though, and not harmful chemicals. And, New Yorkers should benefit from it in the form of rebates similar to the way Alaskans benefit from oil in their state. Natural gas communities are economically healthy communities. Handled properly, they are environmentally healthy, too.
Bisso: I disagree with the current Assemblywoman who has forever changed the meaning of marriage in this state. I would have voted no. I believe the definition of marriage is between a man and a woman.
Duprey: I voted for marriage equality to provide equal protection for all people who are in love and want to marry the person of his/her choice. There are over 1,200 civil rights such as tax equity, end of life decisions, adoption rights ... that are provided only for couples married under the laws of the state. I believe that all couples have the right to equal legal protection and happiness.
Casino gambling (Should it be expanded, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo wishes?)
Bisso: Hasn't Cuomo gambled with enough of our tax dollars with frivolous grants and stimulus programs? We already have enough casinos.
Duprey: I support the revenue to be generated by the state sharing in gambling revenue and I am waiting for more detail on the location of proposed casinos. In the end, it will be the voters of New York who decide whether or not to expand casino gambling.
Kimmel: No. While some folks enjoy recreational gambling, a good many New Yorkers have been hurt by it. Further, the Akwesasne voluntarily pay a portion of their proceeds to the state, to be divided amongst northern townships in the district. That money goes away if the state gets into the gambling business.
Minimum wage (Should it be raised, as Democrats have suggested?)
Bisso: No. Minimum-wage jobs are entry-level jobs which were never designed to support families. That is why we have to bring in companies offering better-paying jobs to a skilled work force.
Duprey: I did not support the bill proposed during the past session that was not presented on the floor of the Assembly for a vote. I was particularly opposed to linking the minimum wage to the (Consumer Price Index), which would mandate regular increases without any further vote of the Legislature.
Kimmel: No. We need to focus on policy that encourages full to near-full employment. When labor is in demand, laborers can demand higher wages.
Lawmaker pay (Should legislators get a higher salary, as some have proposed?)
Bisso: No. If you really want to see the economy turn around, then base Assembly pay on the average pay of the constituents of their district with a salary cap of no more than what they are receiving for their base salary right now. For example, average pay in the 115th Assembly District is roughly $35,000 while our Assemblywoman grosses $175,000.
Kimmel: Heck no. And Duprey should give back her double-dipping salary until she actually retires and leaves the Assembly.
Medical marijuana (Should New York legalize it?)
Bisso: While at some point this issue will have to be addressed, we have much more important issues to tackle.
Kimmel: No. It's a canard.