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Congressional candidates stress jobs, small business at Manlius forum

Former Congressman Dan Maffei speaks to residents at a political breakfast held Tuesday at the Cavalry Club in Manlius.

Former Congressman Dan Maffei speaks to residents at a political breakfast held Tuesday at the Cavalry Club in Manlius. Photo by Ned Campbell.

— Local business owners and other residents heard from federal, state and county candidates for November election at a political breakfast held Tuesday at the Cavalry Club in Manlius.

“This is an opportunity for the candidates to come up and basically do an early trial run,” Greater Manlius Chamber of Commerce President Tim Buckles said in welcoming the guests to the chamber’s annual event.

County Legislator Kevin Holmquist (R-Manlius), who is not up for reelection this year, reminded the candidates to keep their speeches to “three earth minutes.”

“Not Albany minutes or Washington minutes,” he joked.

First up was former Congressman Dan Maffei, who is challenging Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle for the newly drawn 24th District seat. Maffei is endorsed by the Democratic Party.

He reflected on his experience in business — at his family’s small business on Burnet Avenue, in the local media, and at a local investment firm.

“It’s very difficult and challenging, particularly now, to run a small business in Central New York,” he said. “And that’s where I think we need to focus over the next several years.

“It’s very important that we get our economy in Central New York moving again.”

He stressed the need to balance the nation’s budget.

“It’s a key thing in Washington. Everybody knows that the budget is out of control,” he said. “But we need to do it in the right way, and that’s not on the backs of our seniors, and our middle class and our small businesses.”

The right way, Maffei said, would be to invest in local infrastructure — the bridges and roads — which are “not what they could be.”

“And eventually I do think we need high speed rail,” he said. “We need something transformative that’s going to bring people back to Central New York in the way that the Erie Canal once brought people to here in the first place.”

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