For more than an hour, candidates for Darien's seats in the General Assembly elections Nov. 4 debated issues facing the state at a League of Women Voters forum.

The legislative candidates were given less time than Board of Education candidates who had debated earlier Tuesday evening, but each group fielded fewer than five questions because of the time constraint.


State Senate contenders -- Bob Duff, incumbent Democrat in the 25th District, and his GOP challenger Bill Dunne, and Carlo Leone, the incumbent Democrat in the 27th District and his challengers Republican Eva Maldonado and David Michel of the Green Party -- were asked whether they support the proposed state constitutional change that would remove restrictive language regarding in-person and early voting.

While Duff, Leone and Michel were in favor of the change, the Republicans were not.

"I would be against the idea with early voting," said Dunne, adding there is a "significant" problem with voter fraud. "This would only aggravate that."

Michel, a French immigrant, said he supports the idea of early voting and said he was sure the technology for early voting used overseas could be implemented in the U.S.

Candidates were also asked about the issues facing transportation along the Interstate 95 corridor and Metro-North Railroad lines.

"The goal of train service to be on time is paramount, second only to safety." Leone said. "I know that's not always the case."

Maldonado agreed with Leone, adding that "Metro-North has been neglected for years."

House of Representatives

The three candidates for the House of Representatives -- Rep. Terrie Wood, R-141, who is unopposed, and Rep. William Tong, D-147, and his Republican opponent Dennis Mahoney -- were in agreement on the most significant piece of state legislation recently passed.

"That's easy -- the gun bill," Tong said. "That was not a hard decision. We knew exactly the right thing to do."

The gun-control bill included new regulations on gun purchases in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 26 dead in December 2012.

Mahoney agreed, but added that he felt the legislature was "missing an opportunity to focus on the economy."

While discussing transportation in southwest Connecticut, Wood said that the state needs to "de-couple cars and the economy," and that there should be a focus on other ways to get to work.

"This is always such a complex topic," Wood said about transportation issues. "It has to be a multi-pronged approach and should be a very long-range plan of investment."; 203-330-6583; @Meg_DarienNews