2 GOP candidates battle over Staten Island, Brooklyn

STATEN ISLAND - Following a year filled with scandal surrounding the 13th Congressional District, two republican candidates are fighting to replace Rep. Vito Fossella (R), who is stepping down after being arrested for drunken driving.

The GOP initially settled on retired Wall Street executive Frank Powers to take Fossella?s place, but the candidate died in his sleep only weeks after accepting the nomination.

Republicans have held the 13th Congressional District, which covers Staten Island and parts of Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton, Bath Beach and Gravesend, for nearly 30 years. Now, two candidates, Robert Straniere and Dr. Jim Wyne, want to continue the Republican reign.

Wyne, however, pledges to do a better job than his opponent.

?The people of Staten Island rejected him in 2004,? Wyne says, referring to Straniere. ?He didn?t have one single bill passed, except [for] the highway bill.?

Wyne, an immigrant from Pakistan, settled in Staten Island and opened two cardiology clinics there for patients who cannot afford health care. He is also focusing on issues concerning transportation and alternative fuels, including geothermal power.

Straniere, on the other hand, is a Staten Island native who served 24 years as a local assembly man. He also has a plan for affordable health care and fossil fuel alternatives. Straniere opposes tax increases and is pushing for a gas tax cut to relieve the pain at the pump.

?Senator McCain and Senator Clinton both called for a summer moratorium,? he says. ?We?re well into summer now and I think it should be extended.?

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