The Sullivan County and Delaware County chambers of commerce hosted a NY-19 Candidate Forum on Thursday in Roscoe. Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan met once again to try to convince voters why they should be the district’s next congressman.

The discussion was polite and informative.

The first topic: inflation and the just signed Inflation Reduction Act.

What You Need To Know

  • The special election takes place on Aug. 23

  • Early voting lasts until Sunday

  • The Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce and Deleware County Chamber of Commerce hosted a forum at Roscoe Beer Company on Thursday

"I don’t support the bill," said Molinaro. "This bill is too big in one of the most precarious times in our economy, and we need relief, not more spending."

"I support the bill. Look at every level of government. We have to do everything that we can to reduce the pain and the pressure that everybody in our community is feeling," said Ryan.

On the issue of abortion, the candidates differed.

"This is a fundamental right and freedom of every American. It’s a right that I risked my life and I lost good friends who gave their life, protecting the right for us as individuals and as women and people and families to make personal health care decisions, and not have the government or anyone else tell us what to do," said Ryan.

"The Supreme Court didn’t defer to the states. The Supreme Court said that it is a states' matter under the constitution of the United States," said Molinaro. "So to be clear: I do not support any action by the federal government to impose its will on states."

Considering the debate was held in Sullivan County, moderator Mike Sakell asked the candidates how they would help the more rural parts of the district, including towns like Roscoe.

"Investment in infrastructure, driving down energy costs, focus on providing direct assistance to farmers," said Molinaro.

"Certainly, infrastructure. We passed the biggest bipartisan infrastructure bill from the federal government since Eisenhower," said Ryan. "For the love of everything holy, broadband and cell service in 2022 in every corner of this district."

The candidates also discussed gun rights and gun control.

"We ought to have a system of pistol permits that is not arbitrary, that doesn’t intrude on peoples' individual rights, and we ought to have a system that intervenes effectively to prevent those we know are going to act out in a violent way against themselves or others," said Molinaro.

"Responsible gun owners like myself think and recognize we have to draw a common sense line, and for me, the line is a weapon designed for combat doesn’t belong at a Tops grocery store," said Ryan.

Despite the contentious race, the candidates were friendly and reiterated their respect for one another.

"Going into this we were friends. Going out of this, I trust, we can figure out a way to be friends again," said Molinaro.

"At the end of the day, to me it just boils down to who’s gonna actually deliver," said Ryan.

The special election will take place on Tuesday Aug. 23. Early voting is happening and will continue through Sunday.