Nassau County's League of Women Voters teamed up with the Cultural Program of Nassau Community College to host a candidate forum for the 4th Congressional District Tuesday night.
What was slated to be a debate between Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola), Francis Becker (R-Lynbrook) and Frank Scaturro (C-New Hyde Park) quickly turned into a solo forum for the conservative candidate.
According to Phyllis Kurland, director of cultural affairs at Nassau Community College, a scheduling conflict led McCarthy to back out early last week, but Becker resigned just minutes before the start of the forum.
"Mr. Becker would not come, not that he couldn't come, but he was on his way here and his campaign manager informed us that when he found out Carolyn McCarthy was not going to come, he turned around and went someplace else," Kurland said.
Scaturro briefly introduced himself before addressing concerns from voters. A Brooklyn native who migrated to Nassau County with his immigrant parents at a young age, Scaturro said his beliefs as a leader stem from values his father instilled in him as a child.
"I don't come from a political family," said Scaturro, an accomplished attorney and published author. "My father brought with him values that have been with me from the youngest age: integrity, faith, the immigrant work ethic and a commitment to playing by the rules. These are values that have been battered and it's one of the reasons I chose to run."
"In other walks of life, particularly the armed forces and first responders like our police officers, they put their lives on the line to do their job," he added. "All politicians are asked to do is, from time to time, take a risk by telling the truth, talking about the difficult problems and difficult solutions people may not want to hear."
In response to a question about young immigrants in the United States, Scaturro introduced a favored proposal by Senator Marco Rubio -- similar to the DREAM Act -- that would consider offering permanent legal status for youth brought into America from age 0-16.
"If these immigrants have met certain education benchmarks and are law abiding citizens, then we do provide some path," he explained. "We have to be realistic and understand the position that so many of them are in who did not choose to be brought into this country, but at the same time we have to encourage respect for the law."
Another hot topic Tuesday was Scaturro's position on the country's financial standing. He said that a $16 trillion debt means that the U.S. has to change the way it spends and that spending cuts and tax cuts are not enough anymore.
"We really do need to revisit the process from its foundation," Scaturro said. "So many politicians run for office and say they'll go through all of our spending with a finetooth comb and identify the waste, but when they're elected they never actually roll up their sleeves and do that. I'm proposing we create a congressional committee and achieve this goal."