MAHOPAC, N.Y. - In the race for the state Senate in New York’s 40th District, incumbent Republican Terrence Murphy and Democratic challenger Alison Boak debated last week and their views could not have been more starkly different. The two faced each other during a Meet the Candidates Forum at the Mahopac Library, Monday night (Oct. 10).

The event was sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

Boak, a former Pound Ridge councilwoman, expressed support for the SAFE Act, one of the strongest gun-control measures in the nation, while incumbent Sen. Terrence Murphy, said he would seek to repeal it.

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Murphy touted his environmental record, citing the bills he sponsored that would protect Putnam County lakes and streams, while Boak claimed the state doesn’t do nearly enough and vows she would change that.

Murphy said the SAFE Act eroded the Second Amendment and he wants it repealed.

“I don’t want to be the one to tell the lady who has been victimized over and over again that she can’t have anything to fend off that husband or boyfriend who has come in to beat her up numerous times,” he said. “If that’s the only choice of defense she has, I want her to have it. I support the Constitution and I support the Second Amendment and I will never take it away from you.”

Boak said she supports the SAFE Act.

“It’s important because it requires universal background checks, which is a common-sense gun-control principle that is supported by a vast majority of Americans,” she said. “It’s important for keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and out of the hands of domestic abusers and out of the hands of terrorists.”

The candidates were asked about the LLC loophole in the state’s campaign finance laws.It allows a single company to use multiple LLCs to contribute to a single candidate in an effort to get around campaign contribution limits.

Murphy said no one has fought more against that problem than he has.

He noted that in 2014, hundreds of thousands of dollars were allegedly sent by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and his political operatives to the Putnam County Democratic Committee in an effort to influence the state races here.

“This is part of Red Horse Strategies, who Ms. Boak hired to run her campaign,” Murphy said. “She stated that she does not have any knowledge of [NYC Mayor] Bill de Blasio or any of his employees, but look at her statements. She’s paid over $30,000 to Red Horse Strategies that organized $692,000 to [impact] the state Senate. Go through the campaign filings and you will see where the money has gone.”

Boak pointed out she has signed a Clean Conscious Pledge, which Murphy has not. The pledge says a candidate will work to close the LLC loophole.

“I am vehemently against the LLC loophole and will work very hard to close it,” Boak said.

She also said she would limit her outside income and not receive pay from other jobs if elected.

“My money was raised in the district and has come from you, the people, and not from big corporations, not the real estate developers, not the political committees,” she said.

The candidates were asked what they would do to protect water quality and ground water in the district.

“I don’t think anyone in New York has done more to protect our lakes than myself,” Murphy said. “Mahopac Lake has been designated an Inland Waterway. It gives them the opportunity to get funding to keep these lakes clean—to make sure we can do the right thing environmentally. I have been endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters.”

But Boak contended the state hasn’t done nearly enough to ensure the safety of the region’s water.

“There is $350 million allocated for water infrastructure projects, but in our pipeline of projects, we have over $1 billion in projects on the list that need funding and our attention,” she said. “We need to have a long-term strategy for the future when it comes to water. As a member of the Pound Ridge Town Board, I formed a wastewater task force to look at lake water issues. I also served on the Mid-Hudson Sustainable Task Force. We need to have regulations to make sure people aren’t exporting our precious water from New York State to other regions. We need to protect our water from fracking. I am strongly against fracking because once our aquifers get destroyed, there is no going back.”