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Molinaro discusses abortion, guns at Endicott town hall

Republican congressional candidate Marc Molinaro, who is running in the new 19th Congressional District, took questions from voters in Endicott Wednesday.

About 30 people attended the event and posed questions to the Dutches County executive on topics including abortion, energy, drugs and guns.

The topic dominating the most time in the discussion was a back-and-forth on Molinaro’s views on abortion. Several attendees asked for Molinaro’s justification for opposing most abortions after 17 weeks.

“I don’t want government in the specific decision making that women will have to make, I don’t,” Molinaro said. “But I also want to be respectful of the fact, at some point there ought to be some limitation, except in the case of life of the mother, rape and incest.”

Molinaro was also asked where he stands on restricting access to some firearms. He reiterated that he doesn’t support a federal prohibition on some semi-automatic assault weapons, but would rather see a more streamlined and resourced system for background checks, direct in-person services to identify people suffering from trauma, and to more aggressively prosecute gun-related crimes.

Molinaro was also asked why he voted against legislation to prohibit domestic violence offenders from possessing firearms while he served in the state Assembly. Molinaro, unsure of specifically what piece of legislation the attendee was referring to, said he believed he voted against the legislation out of concerns that it did not allow for due process before a judge.

Several other topics were also raised during the event, including combatting the flow of fentanyl and other harmful drugs, addressing the costs of natural gas and home heating fuel, attracting and retaining manufacturing jobs and border security.

Molinaro’s Democratic opponent in the primary is Josh Riley. The new 19th Congressional District covers Broome, Tioga, Tompkins, Cortland, Chenango and Delaware counties.

Vaughn Golden has been reporting across New York since 2016. Working as a freelancer while studying journalism and economics at Ithaca College, Vaughn has reported for a number of outlets including the Albany Times Union, New York Post, and NPR among others. Prior to coming to WSKG full-time, Vaughn was a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. Vaughn now covers government and politics for WSKG.