Trump looms over Faso-Tea­chout de­bate

Repub­li­can can­di­date for 19th Dis­trict seat de­clines to with­draw en­dorse­ment

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Kyle Hughes NYSNYS News

AL­BANY >> The race be­tween Don­ald Trump and Hil­lary Clin­ton loomed over Thurs­day’s tele­vised de­bate be­tween 19th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict can­di­dates John Faso and Ze­phyr Tea­chout, but the two also faced ques­tions about global warm­ing, Syria and end­ing mar­i­juana pro­hi­bi­tions.

“I think mar­i­juana should be reg­u­lated like al­co­hol,” Tea­chout, a Dutchess County Demo­crat, de­clared dur­ing the hour­long de­bate, which was hosted and broad­cast by WMHT pub­lic tele­vi­sion. “And thanks for ask­ing a ques­tion about drugs, though, be­cause the is­sue that is re­ally live through­out our dis­trict is what to do about the her-

oin cri­sis.”

Tea­chout said drug ad­dic­tion should not be treated as a crime and that giv­ing mar­i­juana the same le­gal sta­tus as al­co­hol is the right thing to do.

“To an­swer your ques­tion di­rectly — you al­ways know where I stand — that’s the di­rec­tion I think we should go,” she said.

Faso, a Columbia County Repub­li­can, said he would with­hold judg­ment on pot un­til more is known about how mar­i­juana legalization is work­ing in Colorado. That state has dropped the pre­tense of med­i­cal mar­i­juana used by other states and has le­gal­ized the cul­ti­va­tion, sale

and recre­ational use of the herb.

Faso is a for­mer state assem­bly­man who has run and lost un­der­dog statewide races for gover­nor and comptroller in the Demo­crat­ic­dom­i­nated state. But the con­test with Tea­chout, a law school pro­fes­sor who made her name by mount­ing a pri­mary chal­lenge against Demo­cratic Gov. An­drew Cuomo in 2014, is more of a toss-up.

It’s not clear what im­pact a big turnout in a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year will have on the race, but the con­test be­tween Clin­ton and Trump came up re­peat­edly dur­ing the de­bate.

Both can­di­dates agreed on one thing: Trump’s treat­ment of women. Faso called the GOP nom­i­nee’s re­marks about sex­u­ally mo­lest­ing women “rep­re­hen­si­ble,” while Tea­chout said the bil­lion­aire

show­man “called women pigs and dogs.”

Tea­chout again called on Faso to with­draw his en­dorse­ment of Trump.

Faso de­clined, say­ing, “The fact is the vot­ers are in­tel­li­gent enough to de­cide the race for pres­i­dent” with­out his in­put.

Faso has lived in the 19th Dis­trict for decades, while Tea­chout moved to the dis­trict only shortly be­fore launch­ing her cam­paign. She is from Ver­mont, lived in Brook­lyn un­til re­cently, and now lives in the Dutchess County town of Clin­ton. She is a law pro­fes­sor at Ford­ham Uni­ver­sity.

Faso por­trayed Tea­chout as a car­pet­bag­ger and an ex­treme lib­eral who is out of touch with the mostly ru­ral dis­trict, while Tea­chout crit­i­cized Faso for work­ing as a

lob­by­ist and for his votes as a state leg­is­la­tor.

“He’s part of the sys­tem that isn’t work­ing,” Tea­chout said.

Faso brought up the fact Tea­chout has ben­e­fited from cam­paign spend­ing by bil­lion­aire Ge­orge Soros.

On the sub­ject of na­tional de­fense, Faso and Tea­chout both op­posed send­ing U.S. ground troops into Syria; Faso crit­i­cized Tea­chout for sup­port­ing the nu­clear deal with Iran worked out by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama; and Tea­chout crit­i­cized Faso for sup­port­ing Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush’s in­va­sion of Iraq.

Faso crit­i­cized Tea­chout for sup­port­ing poli­cies he said would raise the cost of en­ergy in the dis­trict.

“She wants to raise taxes on propane, heat­ing oil, diesel and gaso­line,” the Repub­li­can

said. “This would be a dis­as­ter for our state and for our econ­omy, up­state in par­tic­u­lar.

“She just moved here from Brook­lyn,” Faso added. “She doesn’t re­al­ize peo­ple used home heat­ing oil to heat their houses, or propane ... those are car­bon-in­ten­sive uses that will re­ally hurt us with higher prices.”

Tea­chout said Faso mis­char­ac­ter­ized her po­si­tion on a car­bon tax.

“I don’t be­lieve that the big fos­sil fuel com­pa­nies should be al­lowed to pol­lute our air and wa­ter for free,” she said.

The race in the 19th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict, which in­cludes some or all of 11 coun­ties in the Mid-Hud­son Val­ley and Catskills, is con­sid­ered one of the most com­pet­i­tive in the na­tion this year. Faso and Tea­chout are run­ning for

a seat be­ing va­cated by U.S. Rep. Chris Gib­son, R-Kin­der­hook, a re­tired ca­reer mil­i­tary of­fi­cer who has served three two-year terms in the House. Gib­son has been hired as a pro­fes­sor at Wil­liams Col­lege.

Both Faso and Tea­chout praised Gib­son, who has en­dorsed Faso while also keep­ing par­ti­san­ship at arms length. Gib­son and Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Am­s­ter­dam, won a stand­ing ova­tion ear­lier this week at a fo­rum at Skid­more Col­lege in Saratoga Springs con­vened to talk about the need for less political pos­tur­ing and more com­pro­mise in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics.

The 19th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict in­cludes all of Ul­ster, Greene and Columbia coun­ties, most of Dutchess County and some or all of seven other coun­ties.


Con­gres­sional can­di­dates Ze­phy Tea­chout, sec­ond from right, and John Faso, right, are shown dur­ing Thurs­day night’s de­bate.

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