LIVE BLOG: Meet the Candidates Night


FTC Mass Comm students Aaron McLaughlin, Dan Falvey, Ryan Renoso, Jacob Bila, and Jeff Kramer follow the production and political action at Five Towns College for Meet the Candidates Night.  Voters will hear from incumbent state assemblyman Keith P. Brown (R-Northport) and Cooper J. Macco (D), who are running for the 12th Assembly District of New York. The debate is co-sponsored by Five Towns College, Huntington Chamber of Commerce, and the American Academy of Pediatrics-NY Chapter 2.



8:40 PM

Post-debate coverage begins.  FTC Reporter Jacob Bila speaks with candidate Cooper Macco.



8:25 PM

FTC Mass Comm student Kyle Martinez runs the audio board at the live debate.




8:20 PM

Debate topic: opioid crisis

Keith Brown- “The first thing I did was form the Long Island Drug Coalition, and it started out from my connections in Northport that led to Huntington, then to Nassau County, then to the boroughs, and then to upstate New York. And right now, we have a coalition of about 50 service providers.”

Cooper Macco– “I think we are all dealing with an opioid epidemic that we say we didn’t see coming. Unfortunately, in a lot of ways, the opioid epidemic is a direct outcome of the pharmaceutical industry, which has pushed opioids for many years.”


8:15 PM

Debate topic:   transgender youth legislation

Cooper Macco– “First and foremost, trans rights are human rights, and we need to remember that as we are seeing the trans population, you know, finally live in a gender-affirming way they desired.”

Keith Brown- “I don’t think it is progressivism at all.  I think it’s just respect for people.  I believe in a zero tolerance for any bullying.”


8:10 PM

Debate topic:   vaccines

Keith Brown– “I’m against mandates.  I’m against how this state and former Governor Cuomo treated people on the religious exemption issue.  There are people who were told their children had three weeks to get 35 vaccinations, or they weren’t allowed to go to school.”

Cooper Macco– “We are a developed country. Developed countries have vaccines to prevent these illnesses.  We do not need to be pushed further back into the dark ages.”


8:00 PM

All stations in the control room are focused on their roles in the production.



7:55 PM

Debate topic:   gun control

Keith Brown– “I voted to make the age to purchase guns 21.  And I also voted for the ban of body armor in New York state.  The conceal and carry law is unconstitutional in my eyes.”

Cooper Macco– “My opponent talks about his voting record, but I urge you to look at that voting record.   He voted against major legislation regarding gun control.”


7:50 PM

Debate topic:  the biggest challenges facing New York state

Cooper Macco– “Housing and the ability to afford to live. We need to make sure Long Islanders can continue to both live and work on Long Island.”

Keith Brown– “They’re glaring. There are three. There’s public safety, hyperinflation, and the opioid epidemic.”


7:45 PM

Debate format: After 2 minutes of opening statements, the moderator directs questions to the candidate, who has 1 minute to respond.  There is an opportunity for a maximum of 5 rebuttals of 30 seconds each.  Each candidate gets a 2-minute closing statement.


7:30 PM

What is an assembly member?  New York’s government has many layers.  In addition to the Governor and Senators, State Assembly representatives govern each of New York’s 150 districts.  An assembly representative listens to the needs of the people in their district and advances policies to uplift and protect their communities.  Members of the New York State Assembly serve two-year terms and are not subject to term limits.  Learn more about the New York State Assembly here.

Where is the 12th Assembly District of New York?  The 12th Assembly District covers Northport, East Northport, Centerport, Eaton’s Neck, Asharoken, and portions of Fort Salonga, Halesite, Greenlawn, Commack, Elwood, Dix Hills, Deer Park, and North Bay Shore.

7:15 PM

Meet the Candidates Night is LIVE.  Click HERE to watch.

FTC Mass Comm Senior Jacob Bila welcomes the audience on behalf of Five Towns College President Dr. David Cohen.




6:50 PM

The debate will only include candidates for the 12th Assembly District of New York.

Audience member Lisa Laissle spoke about the importance of attending debates at a college, saying, “It’s essential because we need to hear from the candidates live themselves. And again, it’s essential to have young people involved even if they’re not that involved.  They’re on the campus. They know it’s happening on the campus, and it’s so unfortunate that so many other candidates did not come tonight.”


6:45 PM

Representatives from the League of Women Voters of Huntington have arrived at Five Towns College. The FTC Record Online has learned that the Republican candidate for the NYS AD 10th district, Aamir Sultan, who had previously canceled, could now participate. The LWV was working to reach incumbent state assemblyman Steve Stern (Democrat-Melville) to see if he was able to attend.   After Sultan had canceled earlier today, Stern was asked not to attend due to the LWV’s ‘Empty Chair Policy.’

The debate will begin at 7:10pm.




6:30 PM

Five Towns College Mass Comm students are busy preparing for the live event.

James Miller is directing the debate and looks forward to working with his fellow students this evening, saying, “A perfect production is a combination and collection of people working together and having all of the elements prepared and being ready for anything to happen.”

The debate is scheduled to begin at 7pm.