Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny and his Republican Conservative opponent Tom McCarthy faced off in a debate at the Fort Hamilton Senior Center, organized by the Bay Ridge Council on Aging, on October 17.
I bring to the table a background in banking and finance, said McCarthy in his opening remarks. I am running because I am passionate about this place we call home. I want this to be a place to raise a family and grow old.
I was not born in Bay Ridge, but nobody is perfect, Brook-Krasny jested. I represent the most liberal and most conservative districts in the city, so I know how to create a balance.
Brook-Krasny talked about his achievements during his State Assembly stint, including securing finding for schools, helping to save a local firehouse, passing a bill to make hookah bars safer and creating jobs.
Coney Island, two years ago, was the land of rocks, graffiti and who knows what else, he said. Now, people from all over the world come to the area. We will see a different quality of life now.
Peter Killen, debate moderator and president of the Bay Ridge AARP, asked each candidate how they felt about charter schools.
I am a big supporter of the public school system, Brook-Krasny said, adding that his three children went through it. But at the same time I am voting for the expansion of charter schools. I am a big fan of competition, and support public and private partnership.
I am committed to public education but am also supportive of charter schools, McCarthy said. We need a balanced solution. Competition is good.
McCarthy said he would like to see an inspector general on the state level to investigate all education programs to make sure that money is being spent wisely.
One constituent asked how each candidate could stop the trend of high rent and closing storefronts.
We have to support business, especially small business in any way we can, Brook-Krasny said, adding that he also a fan of affordable housing. We can bring business in my district to get the right numbers.
McCarthy said, We need rent stabilization to protect tenants but need to do a lot more in terms of building new apartments as well as helping small businesses.
Each candidate had the chance to ask the other a question.
Brook-Krasny asked, If a miracle happens and you win, whats the first bill you will draw yourself and how will you pass it?
McCarthy said he was not really sure. I would like to be part of the effort to create oversight to oversee Medicare and Medicaid. The solution of getting things done is to work across the aisle.
McCarthy asked Brook-Krasny if he would commit to vote against Sheldon Silver, the Assembly speaker, and if he would commit to serving a full term.
Im doing what Im doing not for myself. I will continue to serve in Albany for as far as I can be helpful, Brook-Krasny said, adding that he would vote against Silver if he didnt agree with him.
In his closing remarks, McCarthy said it was imperative to get our financial house in order. I promise to you I will work as diligently as I can for you.
As for Brook-Krasny, he concluded, I am not doing any small business, I am a full time Assemblymember. This country has been good to me and my family and this is how I am giving back.