Bonacic Ducks Debate with Malick in Orange County
News from campaign trail...Pramilla Malick, Candidate for State Senate District 42, reports...
BONACIC DUCKS DEBATE WITH DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGER PRAMILLA MALICK
WALLKILL, NY - Orange County residents who packed Wallkill Town Hall on Tuesday night did not know quite what to expect. The event had been scheduled as a debate between Republican State Senator John Bonacic and his Democratic challenger, Pramilla Malick, but while Ms. Malick readily agreed to the debate, Sen. Bonacic never replied to the invitation.
Attorney Michael Sussman, convener of the Orange County Democratic Alliance, had arranged the event after learning that Bonacic, a Republican, was encouraging Democrats to write in his name on the ballot in the September 13 primary. Bonacic is already assured of four other lines on the ballot, and if he captures the Democratic line as well, he will not have to face an opponent in the general election. In other words, the pre-primary debate proposed by Sussman might have been the only opportunity voters would have to hear the two candidates go face-to-face on the issues. Sussman expressed disappointment that the senator was a no-show, saying “It deprives him of an opportunity to express himself, and denies his constituents the opportunity to ask him any questions.”
With no opponent in sight, Ms. Malick ended up fielding questions from Mr. Sussman and from members of the audience. Many of those questions concerned education (Malick opposes high stakes testing and Common Core) and ethics reform. Malick told the audience she has pledged to support the full package of reforms championed by Demand Democracy, which includes publicly funded elections, enhanced protection of voting rights, and ethics reform in Albany. One measure would bar convicted lawmakers from receiving state pensions. Malick challenged Bonacic, a twenty-six year Albany veteran, to join her in supporting the reforms saying, “We expect our representatives to have a basic moral compass.”
Ms. Malick, who is widely known for her opposition to the build-out of fracked gas infrastructure including the CPV power plant in Wawayanda, termed New York’s ever-increasing reliance on fracked gas “speeding down the wrong road.” She called for a sharp course correction that would entail the rapid build-out of sustainable energy systems. Malick pointed out that her opponent recently received a failing grade of 57 from the not-for-profit organization Environmental Advocates of New York. That’s the lowest score received by any state senator.
Opponents of Legoland, a massive theme park that would be built in the Town of Goshen, turned out in force to hear Malick’s views on the subject. She pointed out that the proposed project must be subjected to a rigorous review process that has only just gotten underway and that, when all the facts are in, it will be up to the people of the town to decide whether or not they want the project. Bonacic has already signaled his support for the project even though it has not yet been subjected to environmental review. Concerned Citizens for the Hudson Valley, a group that opposes the Legoland project, has posted the entire Town Hall event on its website.
While Pramilla Malick has been endorsed by all four county Democratic committees in the 42nd Senate District, she must receive the plurality of write-in votes in the September 13 primary to be the official Democratic candidate in the general election. The ballot that will be used is confusing. Names written in the top box labeled “Democratic” will not be counted. Only names written in the lower box labeled “Write-in” will be considered valid.
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