The two candidates for the 15th state Senate District debated a final time before the Nov. 2 election Thursday evening in Middle Village.
Incumbent Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) and his Republican opponent, Anthony Como, squared off in a candidates forum sponsored by the Queens Chronicle, The Forum, and the Juniper Park Civic Association at Our Lady of Hope School.
The campaign between Como and Addabbo has been contentious at times, and the candidates each took one final opportunity to try and convince voters why he would be the best option to represent the 15th District.
Regarding the state budget, Como said he supported a constitutional cap on state spending, and would look to cut what he termed as wasteful programs, such as a $41 million fund to provide legal counsel to incarcerated criminals.
“We’ve got to stop throwing money away,” he said.
Addabbo claimed that during the two years he has been in Albany, the state has cut $6 billion in spending, while not pursuing property tax increases.
Regarding the MTA, Como said if elected he would call for a thorough investigation of the agency’s finances.
“There is no auditing process, we don’t even know how many books the MTA has,” he said.
Addabbo also attacked the MTA’s accountants, saying they are “bad at math,” and said he would support a state takeover of the quasi-independent agency.
The two candidates also sparred over the Aqueduct racino bidding process, specifically the recently released report accusing Senate Democratic leaders of favoritism towards former bidder Aqueduct Entertainment Group.
Como said the IG report proves that “three men in a room governance in Albany is not a myth.”
He assailed Addabbo for being part of the process that led to AEG’s selection, and for not calling for Democratic leaders implicated in the report to step down.
Addabbo responded that the process that led to the selection of AEG “started long before I was there,” and that Aqueduct ended up with “a great company” in Genting New York to run the gaming franchise there.
In closing, Como said that the state Legislature had failed the residents of New York and it is time for new leadership.
“It’s time to throw the bums out,” he said.
Addabbo touted his work as a 24-hour senator and his constituent service as reason voters should re-elect him.
“What concerns me is the fate of my people,” he said.
Addabbo said the state Senate has already been working on reform measures, and he wants the chance to go back to Albany and continue that work.