Posted at: 09/04/2012 11:23 PM
| Updated at: 09/05/2012 8:54 AM
By: Dan Bazile
TROY -- Incumbent State Senator Neil Breslin and his challenger, Cohoes firefighter and Albany County Legislature Chairman Shawn Morse, are both Democrats. They both agree on most issues.
Breslin and Morse faced each other in a debate at Bush Memorial on the Russell Sage College Campus in Troy. They're fighting to win the primary election in the newly drawn 44th State Senate district which covers most of Albany county and parts of troy.
They answered questions ranging from education to crime, pay raises for state lawmakers, same sex marriage and increasing the minimum wage. Morse's main argument was it's time for new leadership after Brelin's 16 years in the senate.
"You can put your name on a bill and raise your hand and vote for it. That doesn't mean you're actively trying to do anything other than be a legislator and raise your hand," Morse said.
"I think there's a long list of accomplishment and a long list of people identifying that I bring an integrity and experience and character to the post of state senator," Breslin fired back.
The nearly one hour debate was mostly amicable. However, there was a little bit of tension in the room when the question of character came up. Morse was not happy that Breslin dug into his past and found an arrest record about a fight many years ago.
"This isn't about what happened 25 years ago when I got in a fight. It's about how I've stepped up in the last 25 years of my life became a firefighter," Morse said.
"Look at what's happened, Vito Lopez, Pedro Espada, Hiram Monserrate," Breslin told Newschannel 13. "Character counts."
The primary is on September 13. It's expected to determine who wins that seat because no republican is in the race.