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Assembly candidates debate minimum wage, growth

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As well as the 21st District Congressional race, debates Tuesday night in Queensbury focused on state Assembly races. The 113th district includes part of the Glens Falls area and Washington County, and the 114th district includes chunks of Warren and Essex Counties, in the southeastern corner of the North Country. Brian Mann spoke to Martha Foley about those races.

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What are the big issues in those races? 

The 114th district is where Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward used to be, and of course she's not running for reelection, so that's an open race. In that race, Democrat Dennis Tarantino has really focused on raising the minimum wage. Last night he argued that the $7.25 per hour that low-wage earners now bring home locks them in poverty. He says boosting that baseline wage would put more money into the economy.

Tarantino faces Dan Stec, the Republican who is currently Queensbury town supervisor and chair of the Warren County board of supervisors. What does Stec say about a minimum wage hike?

Stec argues that this would really hit small businesses, especially at a time when the economy in the Glens Falls area is struggling. Stec has really argued against this, and he says the way to boost wages is to boost the overall economy. So really a very clear break between these two men on this issue.

We also have Republican Tony Jordan facing Democrat Carrie Woerner in the 113th Assembly district. This is a heavily Republican area. Are these two races competitive?

There's not much sense that the Democrats have really caught fire. Stec and Jordan are both well known, high profile Republicans, they’ve been around for a long time, they both have strong war chests. And this is a part of the North Country — unlike, say, the River District in St. Lawrence County—where Democrats have struggled to build the kind of support that might tip one of these races. So we’ll see in November, never write anything off, but right now it looks like Republicans are running very strong.

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