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Senate Hopefuls Face off in Debate

In a debate Wednesday night between state Senate hopefuls L. Scott Frantz, the Republican incumbent, and Nancy Barton, the Democratic challenger, the candidates for the 36th Senate District squared off on state and local issues before Greenwich residents.

The debate, sponsored by the League of Women Voters and moderated by member Jean Rabinow, featured questions written by Greenwich residents on issues such as ethics reform, state economic outlook and real estate taxes.

On alternative energy sources, Barton, who is on the town Board of Estimate & Taxation, praised the use of photovoltaic energy at Glenville School. "That is a model for what we should be doing in this state, and I wholeheartedly approve it," she said. Frantz said although such goals are "noble," alternative sources are far more expensive than fossil fuels. "You have to be sure the industry is sustainable, not just sustainable forms of energy," he said.

On transportation, Frantz suggested improving traffic efficiency on highway exits by reconfiguring local roads. Barton said getting people off the roads and onto mass transit could solve the "nightmare" of Interstate 95. But Frantz disagreed. "People love their cars. We're Americans. It's a very easy thing to get in our car and go to the destination of your choice."

Barton criticized the state's retraction of its offer to issue a certificate of need for the Nathaniel Witherell renovation project. The certificate would have included a $16 million increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates over 20 years to pay construction costs. Frantz said the delegation "did absolutely everything to get this funding," but the state ran out of money. Barton said, if elected, she would assist the nursing home in obtaining a fair Medicaid adjustment for the project.

At the debate's conclusion, moderator Rabinow reminded residents, "The election is Nov. 2. None of this counts if you don't vote."

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