Jordan Levine

A Busy Two days of Candidate Forums for the Education Fund and our Partners

October 13, 2017

In the past week, NYLCVEF hosted two environmental Candidate Forums in Westchester and East Hampton. As was made clear by the insightful questions both audiences asked the candidates, Environmental issues are extremely important to both Westchester and East Hampton residents alike.

Beginning with Wednesday’s 2017 Westchester County Executive Environmental Candidate Forum at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, candidates Rob Astorino and George Latimer answered a series of questions from the board of panelists as well as some questions asked by audience members. The panelists, Victoria Alzapiedi, Tracy Brown, and Karl R. Rábago asked the two candidates questions relating to climate change, the Westchester County Airport, the closing of Indian Point and replacements for it, and renewable energy to get a sense of their opinions on environmental issues.

Both candidates support the expansion of solar energy as a replacement to Indian Point and see natural gas as as an interim fuel for the meantime. Latimer spoke on how he believes cost oriented spending in Westchester has been detrimental to the environment and believes the Climate Change taskforce in Westchester should be reinstated. Astorino spoke on his successes as County Executive and how he will continue to reduce energy costs and give residents incentives for buying solar panels.

A full video of the forum can be watched here.

The next evening, three Republican candidates and three Democrats in Easthampton spoke with panelists to a similarly engaged audience. Beginning with Republican Candidates Manny Vilar, Paul Giardina, and Jerry Larsen, questions related to beach erosion and protection, renewable energy, ground and surface water, and plastic pollution were asked. The candidates spoke about how they will be proactive to protect the environment, rather than waiting to act after negative events. On coastal issues, Vilar emphasized the importance of adhering to the New York State Coastal Plan to improve and protect the coastline and Giardina spoke strongly against offshore windmills and instead supported the expansion of solar panels in Easthampton.

The Democrats, Peter Van Scoyoc, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, and Jeffrey Bragman, responded as passionately as the Republicans did, once again emphasizing the importance of water to East Hampton. Van Scoyoc remarked on how the economy of the town is based on water and how there needs to be a town-wide water management plan put in place. Burke-Gonzalez, the incumbent, spoke about the importance of having clean and renewable energy in the town as well as ground and surface water. Bragman said that the landscape is an active, living thing and we need to treat it as one. A major difference from the republicans, all three Democratic candidates were in opposition of hard shore restoration and believe that the rebuilding of the coasts should be natural.

A full video of the forum can be watched here. The event was covered by the East Hampton Star and 27east.com.

As a nonprofit, nonpartisan and educational organization, the NYLCV Education Fund does not make endorsements in political races. Our goal with these forum was to educate Westchester and East Hampton residents about environmental issues and elevate the public dialogue around sustainability.

Many thanks to the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University for hosting our Westchester forum, and to Federated Conservationists of Westchester, Greenburgh Nature Center, the Pace Energy and Climate Center, and Save the Sound for partnering with us for our Westchester forum.

Many thanks to Concerned Citizens of Montauk for co-sponsoring our East Hampton Environmental Candidate forum

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