A pair of candidates vying to become the Democratic choice to run for a newly created Assembly seat shared their views on a variety of issues at a debate at the Elmont Memorial Library on Aug. 30.
Michaelle Solages, of Elmont, and Milagros Vicente, of North Valley Stream, agreed on some topics, and disagreed on others during what was mostly a civil debate. A third candidate on the ballot, Patricia Maher of East Meadow, was not present.
Economic development was one of the main topics of discussion, specifically Belmont Park and Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont. Solages said she wants to see more shopping and entertainment venues at Belmont. Vicente agreed that Belmont needs to be an attraction more than one day a year, and said low income housing should be built there.
For Vicente, she said she is concerned about the high number of small businesses that have closed down in the area. She said the Elmont Economic Development Plan should be carried out, and the idea should be copied in other communities.
Solages said that more parking should be created in the local shopping districts to encourage people to come to Elmont’s businesses, and turn lanes for buses need to be added.
The two shared their thoughts on the tax cap, which limits the amount of money school districts and municipalities can collect through taxes. Vicente said the cap is necessary to control spending and keep taxes down so people can stay in their homes. She also proposed that if a school district comes in with a budget under the cap, no public vote should be necessary.
Solages, speaking as a product of the public education system, said she wants to ensure that schools are well funded. She said the tax cap should stay, as it was enacted to help owners, but other funding options for schools should be explored.
The two took a different stance on term limits for elected officials. Vicente said she is in favor of term limits, as too many officials turn a deaf ear to voters after they’ve been in office for a while. Solages said the onus is on voters to get ineffective politicians out of office. Instead of term limits, she said more voter education is needed and people should be required to register to vote when they turn 18.