But for the most part, they debated about incumbent Sen. Mark Grisanti (R-Buffalo)
Democratic Challenger Michael Amodeo and Conservative Chuck Swanick pressed Grisanti on his change of heart that made him one of a few Republicans to support gay marriage, and they raised questions about a fight he was in last year at the Seneca Niagara Casino.
The three also addressed expansion of Metro Rail, school district consolidation, UB 2020 and campaign financing during the hour long debate in front of the student body at St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute,
Hear the Debate
Hear the Debate
Amodeo set the tone during his opening remarks saying that after the flip on gay marriage and positions on hydraulic fracturing and re-districting were so inconsistent as to make one "question anything that comes out of my opponents mouth."
Swanick, in response to a student question about Grisanti's altercation at the casino said " You have to know you live in a glass house. It reflects badly on the district."
Grisanti defended against both attacks, saying his fight was to protect his wife from injury,and quoted Abraham Lincoln to say that his change of heart on gay marriage was principled.
" Whether you are on one extreme or another, what this was, was a balanced vote protecting rights, and also protecting religious organizations so they can not be sued and they can not lose funding To me it was a balanced vote and as Abraham Lincon said ' a man can be wiser today than yesterday, but if you don't do the work and you don't do the homework in putting forth your decision, than a man fails in and of himself,',: Grisanti said.
The opening question from St. Jos. debate instructor Ted Lina leapt from the current headlines, and asked each to comment about various plans for whatever stadium the Buffalo Bills would play in. In recent days, a group unaffiliated with the team advanced a waterfront plan for downtown Buffalo while the team continues to work on a lease for Ralph Wilson stadium in Orchard Park. Developer Rocco Termini meanwhile has suggested a Buffalo-area team headquarters and practice facility, but a Hamilton Ontario stadium as the way to embrace broader corporate support.
Amodeo came out in support of taxpayer support for any stadium effort, contingent on a contribution from the team. Grisanti opposes the suggestion of a new facility being built in Hamilton, and Swanick spoke of the need for a lease with Erie County for the current facility.