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Final County Executive Debate Covers New Ground

Rob Astorino and Noam Bramson face off in the final debate before Election Day.
Rob Astorino and Noam Bramson face off in the final debate before Election Day. Video Credit: Suzanne Samin
CONT: Rob Astorino and Noam Bramson debate for the last time before Election Day.
CONT: Rob Astorino and Noam Bramson debate for the last time before Election Day. Video Credit: Suzanne Samin

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The final debate for Westchester County Executive stood out among the rest, covering special topics and digging deep into the candidates' personalities.

County Executive Rob Astorino and challenger Noam Bramson, the mayor of New Rochelle, participated in a forum held by the League of Women Voters in conjunction with Pace University Graduate Center on Wednesday, Oct. 23.

The questions touched on the hot topics of the debate such as affordable housing, taxes, public health and shared services.

However, a few questions were asked that had not been heavily addressed in previous interactions between the two. The most notable of which being, "What is the biggest mistake you have made in your time in office, and if you could go back, what would you do better?"

Bramson answered first, recalling a controversial land-use issue he encountered during his time as councilman in New Rochelle.

"What I regret, in retrospect, is that I didn't do more to try to facilitate dialogue and discussion among the different parties," he said.

Astorino used his answering time for rebuttal, but when asked again, confidently said that he regretted very little from his time as county executive.

"I stand by my principles," Astorino said. "I learned in high school what is popular is not always right, and what is right is not always popular."

Coming up on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy , the candidates were prompted to discuss how they would respond to the next big hurricane to hit the area.

"There were a lot of lessons learned during Sandy," Astorino said. "One being that Con Edison needs to do better in restoring power, and they need to work with DPW to cut and clear faster so that our emergency vehicles can get around easier," he said.

Bramson emphasized the necessity of "social resilience" and stronger community support via non-profits to help rebuild faster.

An audience member submitted a question about the government shutdown, and how the candidates plan to work across party lines to continue to accomplish their goals.

Astorino said, "I stand firmly with the taxpayer. We need to stop tax madness. I've been sued six or seven times by Democrats on the board, but I will always stand firmly with the taxpayer."

Bramson stressed the need for a more cooperative balance, which he said Astorino's administration has lacked.

"The number of vetoes in Rob's administration is unprecedented," Bramson said, "and they've been overridden by both parties multiple times."

Bramson and Astorino do not have any further scheduled debates. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5.

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