BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — News 4 hosted a debate Tuesday between the candidates for Erie County Executive, incumbent Mark Poloncarz (D) and challenger Chrissy Casilio (R).
You can view the full debate in its entirety above or clips of each major topic below:
The first question posed was about asylum seekers. Casilio said she’d sue over the migrant issue. Poloncarz called it a federal problem that requires a federal solution.
December blizzard response
Asked about the Blizzard of ’22 response, Poloncarz said the county released all the info and added “hundreds of lives were saved” by first responders. Casilio told Poloncarz he had 12 years to come up with a better plan and over 40 people died due to his lack of leadership.
Casilio’s qualifications, Poloncarz’s fourth term
Casilio said that her understanding of “what the people of Erie County are going through” is a key reason she would succeed as county executive. Poloncarz discussed wanting to “finish the work” he started to create the best Erie County possible.
Casilio’s tweets, Poloncarz domestic dispute allegations
Asked about her controversial social media posts, Casilio said her tweets are being taken out of context and were posted prior to Jan. 6, 2021. She said she does not believe there was an insurrection.
Casilio pointed out her domestic violence awareness pin and questioned Poloncarz on his domestic dispute allegations. Poloncarz claimed the allegations are false.
Casilio told viewers they are paying more in taxes than ever before: “Don’t fall for his lies.”
Asked what programs she’d cut in her tax proposal, she said simply not having as much as a government surplus is a good place to start.
Poloncarz said almost all of the growth in the most recent budget is due to state mandates. To cut, he said you’d have to pull from services citizens want.
New Bills stadium, KeyBank Center renovations
Casilio said she is “very happy” with the deal Poloncarz and government leaders reached on the Bills stadium. What she doesn’t understand is what she called the lack of transparency.
“I don’t know what she’s talking about,” Poloncarz responded, saying every contract is online.
Asked a viewer question about county funding for the Sabres arena that is in need of upgrades, Poloncarz said the Pegulas are committed to re-doing the roof of the stadium.
He said the next county executive will likely need to re-do the lease with the Sabres, but said he won’t negotiate in public about the points of the deal he’d be looking for.