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Candidates answer questions at the Legion

MILLERTON — As elections draw nearer, towns and villages across the country are hosting town hall meetings to allow the public to connect with candidates and elected officials. These meetings give local citizens the opportunity to participate in political discussions and voice their opinions on hot topics.On Tuesday, Aug. 23, the Millerton American Legion Post 178 hosted a town hall meeting featuring Congressman Chris Gibson (R-20), New York state Sen. Greg Ball (R-40) and state Assemblyman Marcus Molinaro (R-103). Majority Leader of the Dutchess County Legislature Gary Cooper (R-19) acted as the moderator.More than 100 area residents attended the event.At the beginning of the meeting, the politicians were given a chance to introduce themselves. After that, the meeting was opened to questions from the public.Most of the questions were directed at Gibson.The first question of the evening dealt with income tax. An audience member wanted to know whether Gibson supported increasing income taxes on the super-rich. Gibson replied that increasing income tax on that portion of the population might push the super-rich to exploit even more tax loopholes, which could potentially result in less revenue for the government. The answer, said Gibson, is not to increase the income tax on the super-rich, but to reform the tax system.Further questions throughout the night pushed Gibson to talk more on this issue.Other questions fielded by the congressmen were met with strong crowd reactions, both positive and negative. Audience members cheered each other on when some questions were asked. Audience members offered support when several questioners became emotional while talking about issues that impact them personally.Although some very sensitive topics were discussed, the crowd behaved respectfully. Gibson also spoke at length about Social Security and Medicare, carbon emissions and climate change, the flow of jobs off-shore and the wars being fought abroad by American soldiers.The Millerton American Legion Post 178 will host additional town hall meetings during the fall. Information about the date and times of those meetings will be released at a later date.

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