By Brooklyn Reader

April 1, 2015, 2:56 pm

  Click here to view original web page at www.kingscountypolitics.com

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Candidates for the 11th Congressional District from left are Vinnie Gentile, James Lane and Dan Donovan.
Candidates for the 11th Congressional District from left are Vinnie Gentile, James Lane and Dan Donovan.

Democrat Vinnie Gentile and Republican Dan Donovan ripped each other’s record while pontificating on what they would do if elected to the 11th Congressional District seat as the two squared off in a debate last night.

Also in the verbal clash was Green Party candidate James Lane. The debate was held before an occasionally raucous and packed crowd at the Bay Ridge Community Council’s Guild for Exceptional Children’s headquarters on 68th Street.

After Donovan introduced himself as a humble public servant who pulled himself up by the bootstraps with the help of a loving working-class parents to become the Staten Island District Attorney, Gentile introduced himself as a son of Bay Ridge and former president of the Bay Ridge Community council who will fight in Congress for a $13 minimum wage and to bring home money for infrastructure projects.

“I’m a tried and true common sense Democrat,” said Gentile, adding he would battle against the GOP-majority House, which recently passed a budget that made drastic changes to social security and Medicaid and cut money for infrastructure projects.

Donovan said his three priorities if elected would be helping people in times of disaster, improving transportation and supporting measures that would that would empower people to live without government interference.

Gentile repeatedly attacked Donovan about his record as District Attorney saying he has the lowest felony conviction and domestic violence conviction rate of any district attorneys in the city.

Donovan countered that Gentile voted to raise taxes, which Gentile said was a one-time vote when the city was in the height of recession and that was only to increase taxes on those making over $100,000.

All three candidates answered no when asked if they would have voted for the recently passed House budget, although Donovan tempered his answer by saying there were good parts of it he’d like to keep in.

Donovan also said he likes some aspects of the ObamaCare Act and that he strongly believes in being bipartisan and supporting sound policy and ideas rather than a particular party line.

“The partisanship has to stop. I will support good Democrat and Republican ideas and oppose bad Republican and Democrat ideas,” Donovan said.

Gentile countered that while Donovan talked a good game regarding bipartisanship it was his Party that made and passed a budget that hurt senior citizens and working Americans.

“He (Donovan) will be in no mans land with the Republicans if he would vote against their budget,” said Gentile.

Gentile also took the credit for bringing ferry service back to Bay Ridge and pointed out his 18 years as a legislator to get things done.

Donovan hit hard that America should not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons and that this country needs to stand by our allies such as Israel. He also adhered to the trickle down theory of economics whereby helping businesses would in turn create more jobs, which in turn would create more tax revenue without increasing taxes.

Gentile said a good way to stimulate the economy is by rebuilding our county’s antiquated infrastructure and not supporting companies that often re-located businesses off-shore for tax breaks.

Throughout the evening Lane stuck to his message of wanting a hike in minimum wage to $15 and that as the Green Party candidate he would offer change in Washington.

The district includes all of Staten Island and parts of Southern Brooklyn. The special election is May 5.

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