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Kennedy, Quinn to Participate in Debate at West Seneca East Senior | News

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Kennedy, Quinn to Participate in Debate at West Seneca East Senior
News, Politics, Schools

West Seneca East Senior High School is proud to host a debate between the two major party candidates for the 58th District New York State Senate seat.

Democrat Tim Kennedy and Republican Jack Quinn III will square off in their only public debate on Monday, Oct. 18, in the East Senior High School auditorium, located at 4760 Seneca St., West Seneca.

The debate will be run by East Senior Participation in Government (PIG) students, with the assistance of teachers Nadine Ocasio and Peggy Santillo, along with assistant principal Jason Winnicki. The teachers organized this debate with the goal of giving students a firsthand experience of what it means to be a part of the political process, as well as providing community members an opportunity to make an educated decision when they head to the polls on Nov. 2.

“Our school is honored to be given this amazing opportunity to organize and run a debate between two candidates for an important political office in our community,” noted Ocasio.

“We are hoping that this experience will educate and inspire our students and their families, as well as community members, and our teachers and staff, to take an interest in this and other important elections taking place this November and to vote,” added Santillo.

A recent Siena poll shows the race for the 58th District seat to be locked in a near dead-heat. Quinn, the 146th District State Assembly member, is a lifelong resident of Hamburg who practices civil litigation. Kennedy, the legislator for the 2nd District in the Erie County Legislature, defeated longtime incumbent William Stachowski in the Sept. 14 Democratic Primary for the State Senate.  Kennedy is also endorsed by the Conservative Party. 

Stachowski continues to run on two minor party lines.

Both Quinn and Kennedy expressed their belief in the value of participating in a debate:  particularly one that engages young people.

"An open and spirited dialogue is the best way to ensure that the public is informed and engaged during election season,” Quinn said.  “This is particularly true when considering the students and young adults who will be in the audience. From college tuition affordability to future employment opportunities, the decisions their government makes today will impact the rest of their lives, and I am delighted to discuss my record of reform and 5 Point Plan of bold new ideas with the students, faculty and families of West Seneca East."

“I’m thrilled to participate in the West Seneca School District’s debate,” Kennedy said.  “It will be a great opportunity for students, teachers and community members to hear directly from the candidates. My campaign has been focused on connecting directly to voters, listening to their concerns and sharing with them my plans to create jobs, cut taxes and clean up Albany. My Albany incumbent opponents have presided over the decline of state government, as members of the most dysfunctional State Legislature in the nation. As the alternative to the Albany incumbents in this race, I believe it’s time to take our state in a new direction. This debate will be a great chance for more people to hear about our fight to change Albany and our vow to deliver positive results to the people of Western New York.”

The race for the 58th District spot is one of a handful of key contests that will decide which party has control of the State Senate in 2011. The 58th District encompasses South Buffalo, Cheektowaga, West Seneca, Lackawanna, Hamburg and Eden.

Though the questions for the candidates will be student-generated, the public is encouraged to attend the event. Additionally, PIG students from West Seneca East and West who attend will be given credit towards their class requirement.

Doors will open at 6:15 p.m. on Oct. 18 for a meet and greet reception with the candidates. The reception, sponsored by the East Senior Student Council, will feature coffee and desserts prepared by East’s culinary students. The debate will start at 7 p.m. and conclude at 8:30 p.m.

News, Politics, Schools

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