The showdown in Middle Village stayed civil between Assemblywoman Grace Meng and City Councilman Dan Halloran.
The two traded a few barbs but mostly stuck to the issues during an hour-long debate at the Juniper Park Civic Association meeting Thursday night.
Below, we’ve rounded up their responses to questions from the panel and from the audience.
On the Affordable Care Act:
Grace Meng, Democrat: “Is it a perfect system? No. Our small businesses were completely confused, our seniors were in fear, but there are parts of the law that make it a great step in a very important direction.”
Dan Halloran, Republican: “The Affordable Care Act created as many problems as it's going to solve, and it's going to put a lot of small businesses out of business. … This is not the role of the federal government. This is a state level issue and an issue that the states should have been dealing with far more seriously.”
On Immigration Reform:
Grace Meng: “America doesn’t have the money to deport all of [this country’s illegal immigrants.] There are families and people who have come to this country legally, whoever’s here legally should come first.”
Dan Halloran: “I want to see a melting pot, I don’t want to see a mosaic. In a melting pot everyone blends together, in a mosaic they’re their own group not a part of the whole. … There should be no path to citizenship for anyone who comes here illegally, period, the end.”
On reaching across the aisle:
Grace Meng: “During my first race I was elected independently, without the support of the state party and without the support of any unions or elected officials. I’m known as someone who is independent.”
Dan Halloran: “Both sides have been intractable, and with the Republicans in control of the house, that’s an important reason to send a Republican to Washington. … The keystone is building up those personal relationships and moving forward with them.”
On helping small businesses grow:
Grace Meng: “We need to do more to make sure our small business owners have more access to capital, that they have the tools to expand.”
Dan Halloran: “We need tax reform. Small businesses pay too many taxes. Across the board, taxation is a critical factor in whether you make the bottom line. … The government has got to get out of the way of small business across the board.”