Voters of the 54th District will have to choose between three candidates, who each offer policy and personality distinctly their own.
On Thursday, the candidate’s uniqueness was showcased – as Rose Supervisor Kenan Baldridge, Canandaigua Supervisor Pam Helming, and Reform Party candidate Floyd Rayburn squared off in a debate just five days before the November 8th election.
A number of important issues were discussed with the candidates taking very few direct shots at each other. While there were clear differences on policy – the evening went smoothly as the candidates focused on issues specific to the communities in the region.
While Rayburn described larger, sweeping changes that he’d like to see in state government – Helming focused on delivering a message that was well-grounded in her overall message. Baldridge offered a refreshing take for voters – being a Democratic face in a distinctly Republican district.
In particular, candidates differed a great deal on how the state should address the growing environmental concerns around the region’s lakes. Helming believes that the first step has to be injecting money into the issue to protect them in the long-term. Meanwhile, Baldridge believes that steps can be taken in the interim before more money is injected into the problem.
Baldridge explained that he would like to see more watershed organizations created for individual lakes throughout the Finger Lakes. Baldridge believes that this type of effort could begin to organize the fight more effectively before money is dropped on it.
Helming also called for greater unity on this front. She broke from Baldridge on this matter by pointing out that more organizations, or committees might not offer the best solution. She called for funding first, with an overlapping organizational effort to keep all of the lakes safe.
All of the candidates differed on how they’d like to see the legislative process happen in New York. While For Rayburn – everything was on the table. Whether it meant cutting the legislative session down to three months, creating stern term limits for candidates, or even forcing votes on individual issues – he described a type of change that neither Baldridge or Helming came close to replicating.
Helming said that the process itself is functional, but that the region needs a representative who can work well within the system. She said that creating more laws, or legislation, would only make things worse.
Baldridge said that his ability to find ‘common values’ and work to come to common ground on all important issues, would be his biggest tool. He also felt that was the one thing missing in state politics. He pointed out tonight that he is the only Democratic representative serving on the Wayne County Board of Supervisors.
A variety of other topics were debated in Thursday’s debate. Watch it in it’s entirety in the video window above.
Be prepared to cast your important ballot to determine our region’s next State Senator in Tuesday’s election and join FingerLakes1.com live on election night from 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm for Election Night Live 2016.