Voters in the 116th Assembly District have two new candidates to choose from. Our Sarah Blazonis talked Anthony Brindisi and Greg Johnson about where they stand on key issues.
ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. -- They're opponents in the race for the 116th District Assembly seat, but Democrat Anthony Brindisi and Republican Greg Johnson do agree on the biggest challenge facing next month's special election winner.
"This election and this race is going to be about who has the better plan and ability to create good paying jobs in this area," said Brindisi.
"We're going to utilize the assets that we have to have private industry create jobs right now," said Johnson.
The asset Johnson is talking about is Griffiss International Airport.
"This runway is the most important Main Street of any community for economic development," he said from Runway 33 at Griffiss.
The former USAirways captain says building a passenger terminal would create jobs and help attract business to the area. He also says he'll help Midair USA, a company that makes over large planes and leases them to airlines, streamline paperwork that will allow them to start work on two 747s and add 300 jobs by the end of the year.
Brindisi says he'll start with training programs.
"People tell me they can't find jobs, but I've also been touring a ton of diverse businesses in the area who are saying they have jobs available, but they can't find the people who can meet the needs of the jobs," he said.
Brindisi also says he wants to implement training programs in high schools and colleges tailored to high tech jobs available in the area.
The full-time lawyer is also a member of the Utica Board of Education and says the formula for distributing aid to districts needs to be reworked.
"Schools around here rely heavily on state funding, and when we get a cut it hurts us more because we can't turn around and raise taxes 15 percent, 20 percent, 25 percent on the property tax payers because they just can't afford to pay it," said Brindisi.
Johnson, a Marcy Councilman says eliminating unfunded government mandates would help with school and municipality budgets.
"New York State is just kicking the can down to the towns, the counties and it's our responsibility to make sure that we can get those unfunded mandates hopefully eliminated," said Johnson.
The special election will be held on primary day, September 13th.