Tea Party vets candidates
BENTON—The Finger Lakes Tea Party group hosted a "Meet the Candidates" night at the Benton Fire House, Tuesday, July 27, drawing in close to 50 people.
The candidates were Phil Palmesano and Steve Kula, both running for the 136th Assembly seat. Tim Chichester, running for U.S. Senate, was also present. Tea Party members asked a series of prepared questions to the candidates, so attendees could compare the same answers, before opening the floor up to audience member questions.
The first candidate to speak was Kula, also a Prattsburgh town board member. In his opening comments he said that “Albany is ridden with bureaucracy and we must vote from within our ranks.” He was first asked how he would balance the state budget.
Kula said that is something he can’t do alone. He added he has several people helping him look over the budget and where to make cuts, adding his goal would be to see a five percent cut in spending. Kula pointed out one area that could be the source of some cuts: entire programs. When asked about the state having over 860 authorities doing jobs sometimes handled by state agencies as well, Kula said these might also be a source for cuts.
Palmesano, who has been an aide to Jim Baccalles, Randy Kuhl, and now George Winner, said his priorities are to cut down on spending. He said he wants to see counties and local government get a relief from federally mandated programs that come with no money to implement them.
Both were asked about their stand on Healthcare reform, with some states declaring it unconstitutional. Kula said this goes back to the federal government having too much control, and that there should be more local control. He said, though while different topics, Arizona stood up to the federal government when it was not doing its job handling immigration.
Palmesano said he disagreed with the law. When asked about his opinion on Arizona as well, he said he supported Arizona’s governor. Palmesano explained Washington wasn’t taking care of the problem.
Kula and Palmesano were both also asked about labor unions and if they should be subject to solvency or dissolution. Kula said that has become a topic where people simply say “at this point, there’s no longer a debate” because of contracts requiring unions. Palmesano said unions have a stranglehold on government. He added that in Gov. David Paterson’s defense, he has tried to get unions to come to the table and talk. However, the unions haven’t.
Both were asked about the gun microstamping bill that failed to make it through the Senate in June. Palmesano said he is opposed to bills like that, that may interfere with a person’s Second Amendment right. Kula said he was opposed as well.
“The technology isn’t proven and it would increase costs,” he said. “It’s a step closer to taking guns away from law abiding citizens.”
The final question put before Kula and Palmesano was: what if the other won the Primary Election and move on to the General Election in November? Palmesano said he would support Kula. Kula added he had no interest running with a Third Party if he lost to Palmesano.