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State Senate, Assembly candidates converge on Cazenovia

Prospective New York State Senators and Assemblymen came to Cazenovia to discuss their views and plans for Albany at a candidates forum organized by the League of Women Voters held Oct. 12 at the Cazenovia village municipal building.

Joan Johnson, local president of the Syracuse Metro Area's LWV, introduced the candidates.

At the event were Andrew Russo, a newcomer competing for a spot in the 49th Senate District, Andrew Russo and incumbent Dave Valesky; also speaking were newcomers Rick Bargabos and Shawn Skeele, vying for a seat in the 111th Assembly District, as well as incumbent William Magee.

After a four-minute-each introduction by the candidates, anonymous questions were posed to the candidates and each was given an opportunity answer. At the end of the night, the politicians were given an additional two minutes to summarize their views and encourage people to turn out and vote on November 2nd.

Andrew Russo spoke first, stressing his Central New York roots and lack of political background. Russo was proud of his inexperience in Albany.

"That's a good thing," he said.

He is eager to gain experience, he said. Russo said career politicians are to blame for problems in Albany. He criticized senators for being more concerned with keeping their seat than what they do with it, referring to this as a "crisis of courage." If elected, he said, Russo plans to enact senate term limits, lower taxes for residents, and stop erroneous government spending.

Dave Valesky spoke next, proudly noting the completion of his third two-year term as a New York State Senator. He also boasted of his Central New York connection; Valesky was raised and still resides in Oneida with his family.

Also a Democrat, he said he has extensive plans for reform in Albany.

Valesky wishes to "fix the internal workings that prevent positive change" in New York. He wants to put a cap on property taxes, create and preserve jobs, and place a moratorium on unfunded mandates.

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