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Suozzi-Martins Congressional Debate on 11/1/16

By Noah Rothstein

Tom Suozzi and Jack Martins battled it out for the final time on November 1st to muster up as many more votes as they can get before Election Day. Next Generation Politics had the privilege to attend the final New York 3rd congressional district debate and generate two of the questions…

To kick off the night, the candidates were asked NGP’s first question on how they would be able to unify both political parties and re-engage the nation’s youth in the political process. Later on, the candidates were asked NGP’s second question on how they plan to make public and private college tuition more affordable. Overall, the candidates performed well, appeared to be well educated with current issues and had numerous qualifications. Tom Suozzi is the former mayor of Glen Cove and served as Nassau County Executive from 2002-2009. Jack Martins has represented the 7th district in the NY State Senate since 2010 and served two terms as mayor of the village of Mineola from 2003-2011.

Both candidates shared similar views when it came to illegal immigration and lowering the corporate tax rate. Additionally, they both spoke about who they would be voting for in the presidential race. Tom Suozzi will be voting for Hillary Clinton because he knew her when he was the Nassau County Executive, and “she knows Long Island well and she understands that we’re an aging suburb and knows the challenges we face as an aging suburb,” he explained. Jack Martins will be voting for Donald Trump because he is his party’s nominee, two-thirds of Americans are not happy with the way the country is headed, and he is “supporting the candidate who says that we need to change direction,” he said.

On the issue of congressional term limits, Suozzi was originally against them but now he is “starting to recognize the need for it.” Martins said he is “open to term limits… this isn’t supposed to be a career.” For the nomination of a new Supreme Court Judge, Suozzi criticized Republicans in the Senate and stated, “if you don’t follow the Constitution of the United States of America, you should really be accountable for that because if you don’t follow it then this country will be in a lot of trouble.” Martins said that he wants  “to see people with life experience” and believes “we should have common ground.”

On illegal immigration, Suozzi explained that he believes “in a pathway to citizenship” and that “we have too many people underground, avoiding taxes, and joining gangs.” He also mentioned that he believes that immigrants should learn to speak English. Martins was in agreement with the need for assimilation, but he also spoke of a “pathway to something, not necessarily citizenship, but legalization that would allow them to come out of the shadows, allow them to pay taxes, and give them the opportunity to raise their children.” They both agree that immigrants who commit criminal acts should be deported to create a safer place for the law-abiding citizens. On the issue of gun control, Suozzi and Martins both agree on universal background checks. Later on, when it came to their stances on abortion, Suozzi stated that he is “100% committed to abortion remaining safe and legal,” but believes we need to create a society where it is more rare. Suozzi also wants to make services for single mothers more readily available, such as housing and better medical and child care. Martins is “pro-life with exceptions of rape, incest, and the life of the mother” and has “voted against late-term and partial birth abortions beyond the 6th month.” Both Martins and Suozzi agree that adoption, especially in the United States, should be promoted and unwanted pregnancies should be prevented.

It was very enlightening and thought-provoking for the members of NGP to have an active role in this debate. Thank you to the League of Women’s Voters for sponsoring a fantastic debate and the candidates for their participation.

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