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Debate Wrap — Addabbo vs. Ulrich

What were the big issues in state Senate District 15 Thursday night?

As polite and reserved as the congressional debate was, things got pretty heated in the face off between Republican challenger Eric Ulrich and state Sen. Joe Addabbo, a Democrat.

Thursday night, the two faced off as the second billing of a double-header debate, and they weren’t afraid to thump each other like they were the main event.

The two had a number of chippy exchanges, including Ulrich asking Addabbo point-blank if Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who has been censured for charges of sexual harassment, should resign. Addabbo declined to answer.

Here’s a snapshot of what was said on the issues that resonate with Forest Hills voters.

On discretionary spending under Gov. Andrew Cuomo:

Joe Addabbo, Democrat: “I believe in discretionary money, I believe the money that comes to local groups is important, but [Gov. Cuomo] doesn't believe that any elected official should be attached to any specific money. … Too many of our elected officials have misused their money and so the governor has said no more new money to elected officials."

Eric Ulrich, Republican: “Part of the job of the elected official is to fight for as much money to bring back to your district as possible, to reinvest back in the community. When you fail to bring back money to the community, there's something wrong with that picture.”

On hydrofracking:

Joe Addabbo: “It creates zero jobs for us down here, the drilling is done 300 miles away, the oil companies bring their own employees. … The bottom line is, don't be fooled, this can be a risk. There's a reason the governor hasn't yet issued a permit for it. There are alternatives, I'm all for drilling, but let's be 100 percent sure we can do it safely.

Eric Ulrich: “If we can create good paying jobs in New York, get ourselves off of foreign oil, if it can be done safely, I support it because it will create jobs. It can be done deep down in the soil without impacting water quality. I support jobs, I support energy independence.”

 On decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana found during stop-and-frisk searches:

Joe Addabbo: “I support stop-and-frisk, I think it’s a great crime deterrent. … No I don’t support the decriminalization of marijuana. I think if you give them an inch they’re going to take a yard. It’s just opening a door.”

Eric Ulrich: “I do not support the legalization of marijuana or any other drug. It’s a gateway drug and many of our young people are susceptible to drug abuse so I do not support that.”

On same-sex marriage:

Joe Addabbo: “It was no evolution at all. I’m a state Senator who’s going to listen to the interest of the people — not my interest, but the interest of my people. … 7,974 people, and I’ll never forget the number, weighed in on this issue for me. 74 percent want me to vote yes. I voted yes but it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

Eric Ulrich: “If I were in the state Senate, I would have voted no, because I also am a Catholic and I was raised to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. That is my personal belief. When we make decisions as elected officials, we do not stick our finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing and this year we vote one way and two years later we vote another way.”

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