Voters in Binghamton will see two familiar names on the ballot this November in the 52nd State Senate Race. Senator Tom Libous is once again facing a challenge from Democrat John Orzel. The familiar foes faced off Tuesday in the first of two debates. Our Melissa Kakareka takes a look at where they stand on the issues.
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Election Day is right around the corner. And Tuesday, members of the Binghamton Rotary Club got to know the candidates in the 52nd Senate District a little bit better. State Senator Tom Libous and Democratic Challenger John Orzel faced off in a debate.
"I thought it went very well. It was very clear the differences between my opponent and myself," said Senator Tom Libous.
"I think it went well. It’s a pleasure being here. It’s a great group of people," said Senate candidate John Orzel.
During the debate, both candidates were asked what they see as the greatest problem facing the district and then were instructed to say what they would do to solve that problem.
Orzel says he would focus on public education, which is facing challenges due to the two percent property tax cap. He says he would look for alternative revenue for schools and suggested a change in the way teachers are paid.
"Public school employees, these people should be paid by the State of New York, not by a local school district and by doing that, that would lift that burden of tax expense," said Orzel.
Senator Libous says that while education is important, the state needs to focus on taxes and jobs. Libous says the property tax cap has saved taxpayers millions of dollars and also pointed to middle class tax cuts that the senate has worked to put in place.
Libous says he supports safe gas drilling, where Orzel is undecided.
Libous also points to his work promoting economic development with BCC and Binghamton University.
"We work with Binghamton University to create BU2020. These are the kinds of things I work with the governor to enhance and move the community forward," said Libous.
Despite the differences between the two candidates, both say they believe they are best choice for voters.
"I would hope that people would look at my record, particularly the last two years as I became the Deputy Leader, the number two person in the Senate and I worked directly with governor and I got things done," said Libous.
"I think I wanna go to Albany to serve the people of this 52nd Senatorial district. I don't wanna go up there to serve me, I wanna serve them and I think that’s a major difference," said Orzel.
Laying out their positions so voters can make a choice on November 6th.
Barrett Esworthy is also on the ballot on the Working Families Party line but was not at the debate. YNN was unable to reach Esworthy for comment.