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55th State Senate candidates agree on some goals, but different approaches to getting there

Samra Brouk & Chris Missick in a Voice of the Voter debate Monday night at the WXXI studios.

The candidates for the 55th State Senate District squared off in a Voice of the Voter debate Monday night at the WXXI studios.

Democrat Samra Brouk and Republican Chris Missick are vying for the seat held by Republican Rich Funke since 2015. He decided not to seek re-election this year.

On a question about dealing with the state’s deficit, both Brouk and Missick indicated they did not want to cut education or health care.

Brouk is looking for other ways to raise revenue.

“Certainly it’s the time where we need to be investing in our young people and investing in health care, and those are things that we can’t cut at this moment. I think there are ways we can grow revenue for this state,” Brouk said.

One of the ways Brouk wants to raise state revenue is by increasing taxes on billionaires in New York.

Missick took aim at tax credits given for movie productions and other funds that are put toward economic development.

“We cut the Hollywood tax credits, we don’t fund publicly funded campaigns and we put a temporary hold on the economic development schemes the state currently has,” Missick said.

The two candidates differed on health care plans, with Brouk indicating she would consider a single payer health plan, while Missick says that kind of plan is too expensive.

The candidates also talked about the plans now in place to give relief to renters and homeowners who have been hurt financially due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Missick wants to be careful about the kinds of moratoriums on rent that are being discussed.

“I think that when we talk about landlords so often we think of really large scale apartment complexes, maybe in New York City. We’re not thinking about the mom and pop in town that have an extra home or a townhouse that they’re trying to rent. If they aren’t adequately compensated, how are they going to pay their property taxes, how are they going to pay for repairs,” Missick said.

Brouk sees continued need to continue rent and mortgage relief.

“I think we do need to look at the underlying systemic issues of why we find ourselves in this situation and continue to support people so they can stay at home; they can stay safe and they can stay healthy and that does include continuing to put a moratorium on evictions and it does include being able to delay and forgive both mortgage payments and rent payments,” Brouk said.

Voice of the Voter is a collaboration among WXXI Public Media, CITY, Democrat and Chronicle, 13WHAM News, and WDKX 103.9.
The 55th State Senate District includes the towns of Victor, East Bloomfield, West Bloomfield, Richmond, Bristol, South Bristol, Canadice, and Naples in Ontario County and the towns of Rush, Mendon, Pittsford, Perinton, Penfield, East Rochester, and Irondequoit, plus the east side of the City of Rochester in Monroe County.
Watch the entire debate here:

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.