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The Jewish Voice Interviews State Senatorial Candidates Lew Fidler and David Storobin

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State senatorial candidate David Storobin, seen here with several prominent Jewish supporters. Special Elections to be Held on Tuesday

A special election is being held next week, on Tuesday March 20 for the open State senate seat in the 27th district, once occupied by the disgraced Carl Kruger. The candidates – Democrat Lew Fidler and Republican David Storobin – sat down for an exclusive interview with the Jewish Voice. The candidates were asked the same questions, and given an equal opportunity to clarify their positions on the issues that matter to the Jewish community in particular, and the district in general.

Q&A with Republican Candidate David Storobin:

JV: What would you describe as the most important issue in this election? And why do you believe that you are in fact the best candidate running, to address this issue?

DS: We need to create jobs by helping our local small businesses with less taxation and less unreasonable government regulation because small businesses create 70% of the new jobs in New York. I am the best candidate to address it because I believe in lower taxes whereas my opponent voted for every type of tax imaginable: income tax, sales tax, property tax.

Another major issue in the community is affordability of education. Frankly, it has become very, very difficult for people to afford it. The only real solution to this is school vouchers. I am in favor of vouchers, while my opponent is against them, which is why I’m a better candidate to address this issue of affordability of education.

JV: This campaign turned a little nasty and personal over the past few weeks. Is character an issue in this election?

DS: Mr. Fidler’s camp realizes that he stands against everything that the community believes in: he’s against traditional marriage, against vouchers, in favor of abortions, in favor of higher taxes and otherwise out of step with the people of the district. They know that he cannot appeal to the voters by discussing issues. As such, his campaign and its supporters resorted to character assassination. They said that I – a committed Jew and Zionist – was tied to the Nazis, before admitting it was untrue. They questioned whether I’m really Jewish. They’ve attacked my profession as an attorney with a false smear. They’ve even repeatedly attacked my mother with words I won’t say here.  It’s all just politics by someone who knows he’s out of step with the district ideologically.

On our side, we’ll keep talking about how to solve real problems. We believe that this is our key to winning this race.

JV: How will you fight corruption and the waste in Albany and restore the public trust in elected officials?

DS: The reason we have so much trouble with the budget is precisely because of corruption and waste. We need to take a look at everything in the budget and decide what is being stolen and wasted. All the programs should be reviewed to make sure we keep all the good parts, while getting rid of the waste and corruption. That’s what I will do.

JV: What is your position on education, school choice and vouchers?

DS: Vouchers and school choice is the only solution. It’s the only way to make sure that a family with 4, 5, even 8 children who are in school at the same time are able to afford to pay the tuition.

JV: How would you help the district’s small businesses grow and create private sector jobs for the community?

DS: We need less taxation and less unreasonable bureaucracy. Keep the regulations that are needed to protect our society, but don’t just put in bureaucratic regulations that make no sense to anyone.

JV: What’s your position on reducing property tax and business tax?

DS: I support it. My opponent voted to raise our property tax by 18.5%. He now publicly says that we should raise taxes on businesses such as hotels. This is wrong. We cannot afford to have our family budgets and our business profits wiped out by ridiculously high tax rates.

JV: How would you address national issues that might come up during your term as a State Senator, such as Iran, global terrorism and support for Israel?

DS: As a state senator, I wouldn’t have direct influence on it, but I could make my voice heard more than before. As you know, I’ve organized pro-Israel demonstrations in the past. I’ve written op-eds for Israel and against global terror, including by Iran, as well as others, since 1996. As a state senator, I will continue to do so even more, and my effectiveness will increase. When I travel to Washington as a state senator to support Israel, I will be able to speak to more people and to get more attention to the issues I care about, such as Israel and global terror.

At the time that my opponent organized a demonstration for same-gender marriage organizations, to get them more taxpayer money, I chose to organize rallies for Israel instead.

JV: If you could point out one thing you would do differently in this campaign, what would it be?

DS: To be honest, I’m very proud of our campaign. We started this race with everyone saying we are heavy underdogs. Today, almost everyone admits that while this is a close race, we are the favorites. That came as a result of very hard work by hundreds of our volunteers and supporters. We will continue meeting voters with our message of discussing issues, even in the face of brutal negative attacks. Discussing real problems and ways to solve it has worked very well for us in this race, and that’s what we’ll continue to do.

JV: If I may ask, could you point out at least one positive thing about your opponent?

DS: I can point out several things, actually. I’ve met his wife and she’s a very nice lady. Mr. Fidler is a good speaker. And though I disagree with his ideology, it’s clear that he believes.

Q&A with Democratic Candidate Lew Fidler

JV: What would you describe as the most important issue in this election? And why do you believe that you are in fact the best candidate running, to address this issue?

LF: The most importing issue is restoring confidence in people. That they have a government they can trust, that will make a difference in their lives, and that will address the issues that matter most to them.

The public trust has been violated over the past two years by some prior State Senators that have disappointed us greatly. And the reason why I am the right guy is because I have spent my entire in public service. And for the last ten years as a city council member, who got results on issues of importance, and delivered to my constituency and the most important of all, that I’m most proud is – my reputation as somebody that is able to speak the truth even if it’s not the most pleasant truth. I speak the truth in the halls of government; I speak truth to the people that need to hear the truth.

JV: This campaign has turned a little nasty and personal over the past few weeks. Is character an issue in this election?

LF: Character is always an issue.

I have never questioned David Storobin’s character. He took a statement that I gave, one word that could have been chosen better, and twisted it, only to make it sound like I said something terrible. And from that point on, all he has done in this campaign, is negative, negative and more negative.  He has sent out more mail that doesn’t even mention his name or speak positive about him, but negative about me.

And the reason for that is, because he has no record. He has not done anything for our community, has not worked in local city groups or fought for issues that is important to the community. I am happy to talk about my record. That’s what my campaign is all about, and it has only been positive. But he keeps coming back to the negative issue. When the only time I actually spoke about it, was in response to a reporter’s question. Even now I would rather not talk about it.

JV: How will you fight corruption and the waste in Albany, and restore the public trust in elected officials?

LF: By telling the truth and doing the right things. I was never afraid to point out when things were done wrong. I was never afraid to stand up to say what has to be said. I’d rather people think I’m crazy. That’s my reputation – speaking the truth, fighting hard, and working every day for issues that matter in people’s lives.

JV: What is your position on education, school choice and vouchers?

LF: My opponent keeps walking around, talking about vouchers.  Vouchers are not going to happen; it is unconstitutional in the State of New York. I believe, the only real way in providing relief for yeshiva families, is by issuing a tuition tax credits, that is doable  and legal. In fact, Mr. Shmuel Lefkowitz from Agudah has the same position as me, that tax credits are an achievable goal, and I intend to pursue that.

JV: How would you help the district’s small businesses grow and create private sector jobs for the community?

LF: By getting government off the back of businesses when it’s not necessary. And by simplifying the tax code for businesses, finding a way to subsidize small businesses that need tax subsidies to help them get off ground, and get started. Reduce the burden, and make it less difficult for businesses and industries that could use them. I have already done that.

JV: What is your position on reducing the property tax?

LF: My opponent goes around portraying me as a liberal. I did vote for property tax increase after the dreadful attacks on September 11th, 2001 in which the city budget suffered from a billion dollar hole. However, I voted against the last property tax increase. For the first time, we were able to lower taxes, and I got credited by some groups that have endorsed me, for reducing the property tax.

I’m the guy who has been more moderate and sensible on the property tax issue, than David Storobin. It is simply not true that I’m the “tax guy.”
 He is also misleading the public, by claiming that I was in favor of increasing the sales tax, when in fact the city has no power or authority to decide over the sales tax code. The State of New York does not grant the city the right to increase sales tax, so that is a false claim.  While the Senate Republicans, who are paying for that literature accusing me of doing that, are the ones that have actually increased it.

JV: How would you address National issues that might come up during your term as a State senator, such as Iran, global terrorism and support for Israel?

LF: There is no more strenuous advocate for Eretz Yisroel than I am. I will speak out strongly on behalf of our friend and ally, and as I have done in the past, criticize members of any political party that fail to support Israel fully and forcefully. I have done that repeatedly before, and I will never stop doing so.

JV: If you could point out one thing you would do differently in this campaign, what would it be?

LF: I regret using the word ‘ties’ instead of ‘links,’ when I described  David Storobin’s  links and writings on white supermacist and neo-Nazi group sites, and the fact that Mr. Storobin got embarrassed by the terms I used. It indeed, was a poor choice of words.  I’m sorry that I used it. But the fact of matter is that, Mr. Storobin twisted it, and used one word, in order to try and make a case out of it in a shameful way.

JV: If I may ask, could you point out at least one positive thing about your opponent?

Well, it’s a little difficult for me to point on, as I have never met him in person. But I have no doubt that he is nice guy to hang out with. And hopefully, he will get involved in the future, contributing for the community.

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