Republican Elaine Phillips and Democrat Adam Haber, the two candidates vying to win the election for outgoing state Sen. Jack Martins’ 7th Senate District seat, offered different views on gun control, economic development and abortion at a forum at Temple Israel in Great Neck on Sunday.
Phillips said she was pro-choice. However, she said she did not support late-term abortions or abortions performed by nondoctors, such as nurses.
Haber also said that he was pro-choice and that the decision should be left up to each individual woman with no regulations.
“A woman’s health care decisions and her doctor and her family, those are her choices,” he said. “I don’t want government deciding what she can or cannot do.”
Phillips, the Flower Hill Village mayor, said she “absolutely” supported “common sense gun legislation.”
She said that she grew up in western Pennsylvania, where hunting was popular in her community, and was well-educated on gun safety.
“What we need to do in New York State is make sure we give the resources to those individuals, our law enforcement, so we don’t have illegal guns brought into New York State,” Phillips said. “So criminals on the street can be apprehended, so we can clean up our streets, we can enforce, but it is law enforcement that needs the resources.”
Haber, a former commodities trader and Roslyn school board trustee, said the two may have differing ideas of what “common sense” means.
He said he understands that citizens have rights to own or carry a firearm, but he believes “gun control is an important part of keeping our community safe.”
When it comes to improving the economies of local communities, Phillips said taxes need to be decreased for small businesses.
She also said money made available to state legislators should be passed down to local governments so they can make the decisions on how to promote economic growth.
Affordable housing near train stations for young adults, Haber said, was necessary to improve Nassau County’s economy.
He also said that the process to obtain permits to build takes too long at the village level and he would advocate speeding up the process.
Both Phillips and Haber agreed that Long Island does not get its fair share of state aid for schools, with both noting that although Long Island students make up 17 percent of the total number of students in the state, they only receive 12 percent of state funding.
The candidates also agreed that the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap was a necessary tool, but more could be done to ease its burden on schools and local municipalities.
Haber, who received the endorsement of the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association on Monday, said the state should refund the Gap Elimination Adjustment, which is money taken from school districts to cover the state’s funding shortfall, and provide more grants for villages to improve their communities.
“We need the state to backfill the money for public education when health insurance goes up 10 percent a year and teachers get 2 or 3 percent raises that they deserve,” he said. “You can’t have 0.3 or .6 percent tax cap and expect the quality of services not to erode.”
Phillips said that there should be a cap on state spending as well.
“The tax cap is saving us money, but we must also make sure that if Albany pushes down costs, that Albany pays for those costs,” she said.
Both candidates agreed that political corruption needed to end.
Phillips said that there should be term limits for elected officials and that the pension of any elected official convicted of a crime should be stripped.
The LLC loophole, which allows for a single donor to give multiple donations to a candidate through different corporations, Haber said, needs to be closed, and elected officials should not have any other jobs associated with government.
The candidates agreed that the Common Core education standards set by the state need to be changed and that education standards should be set at the local level, but did not give specific educational plans.
Also, Haber and Phillips said they supported Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order telling state agencies to stop doing business with organizations or companies that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement, which aims to halt “international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians,” according to bdsmovement.net.