JAMESTOWN – Nearly all the local candidates for this year’s election were in Jamestown last night to take part in the Chautauqua County League of Women Voters “Meet the Candidates Forum” at the Robert H. Jackson Center.
Attending the forum were the two candidates for State Assembly, the four candidates for Chautauqua County Family Court Judge and the two candidates for Chautauqua County Legislature’s District 12 special election. In addition, County Sheriff Joseph Gerace was in attendance although his opponent, Republican Russell Payne, backed out of the event citing a busy schedule.
GOODELL & YOCHIM
The first 45 minutes of the event were devoted to the Assembly Candidates – incumbent Andy Goodell (R-Chautauqua) and challenger Barrie Yochim (D-Jamestown). Both said the most important issue in the campaign is working to making the 150th assembly district more competitive for business.
Goodell said to accomplish that goal, he would focus on welfare reform, lifting onerous business regulations and providing more tax cats to businesses and individuals. In addition to focusing on improving the business climate, he said he’s also focused on addressing the problems in public education – mainly the common core teaching standards.
Yochim said he’d also focus on improving the business climate by addressing the shortage of a skilled workforce in the area. He noted that while there are many people who need jobs in the area, they currently don’t have the skills and qualifications necessary to get the jobs that are available. He also said he wants to focus on improving public education by reducing class sizes in many of our public schools.
While both Goodell and Yochim shared similar views on several issues, the most noted difference between the two was their view on horizontal hydrolic fracking – which is currently under moratorium in New York State. Goodell said he is in favor of lifting the moratorium – explaining that the process, which requires a large volume of water, is safe under current state regulations. He also said that if the moratorium was lifted it would have a major economic upside for the region.
However, Yochim said that he is concerned with the chemicals that are put in the water as part of the process, which could pose a serious threat to public and environmental health if they were to make their way into the water table. As a result, he said he is not in favor of lifting the moratorium and would only support a lift if the chemicals were no longer a part of the process.
A recap of the other candidates’ comments along with complete audio will be provided later this week and also will be available on this week’s Community Matters program (Thursdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at Noon).
The election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 4. For a complete list of candidates, visit our WRFA 2014 Election Page.