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NY19 Democrats debate ahead of primary election

Jamie Cheney and Josh Riley are seeking the Democratic nomination for the 19th Congressional District. (Vaughn Golden/WSKG)
Jamie Cheney and Josh Riley are seeking the Democratic nomination for the 19th Congressional District. (Vaughn Golden/WSKG)

Democratic candidates for the new 19th Congressional District exchanged their views on a variety of issues in a debate hosted by WSKG Thursday.

Jamie Cheney and Josh Riley discussed inflation, healthcare, agriculture, the war in Ukraine and a number of other issues on the minds of voters in the 19th congressional district.

Both candidates said they support the $740 billion reconciliation package recently passed in the Senate along partisan lines. While the package includes provisions to fund climate initiatives, allow Medicare to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs, and increase taxes on corporations, both Riley and Cheney say they would’ve liked to see it go further on addressing cost of living.

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Cheney said she believes the most direct way to lower cost of living is through lowering the costs of healthcare. One aspect she proposed was regularly providing direct to community funding to municipalities to address costly issues locally, as was done in the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021.

“Communities know what’s going to deliver the quickest savings for their families,” Cheney said. “In congress, I’m going to advocate to have direct to community funding be an ongoing piece of the budget.”

Riley emphasized raising taxes and closing loopholes on corporations and wealthy individuals. He said he would’ve liked to see the carried interest loophole closed, as had been originally proposed in the reconciliation package.

“What we need to do is finally invest in giving working families a tax break for once,” Riley said. I would advocate for restoring the child tax credit and I would advocate for closing the carried interest loophole.”

The winner of the primary will face Republican Marc Molinaro in the general election later this fall. The date of the primary is Aug. 23.

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.