Local democrats support Akshar after Fiala heroin comments

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - Three registered Democrats have endorsed Republican Senate Candidate Fred Akshar, following comments regarding the heroin epidemic made by his opponent.

On Tuesday, Democratic Senate Candidate Barbara Fiala commented on Akshar's work as a police officer by saying "He fought crime for 15 years, I'll compare my resume to his. I've had more success because crime is high and heroin is an epidemic."

On Thursday, attorneys Tom Jackson and Benjamin Bergman, who have worked for the Broome County's District Attorney's Office, along with Truth Pharm founder Alexis Pleus, endorsed Akshar.

Pleus lost her son to a drug overdose and works for an organization aiming to raise awareness of addiction issues.

She said Fiala has not made a clear stance on what she will do to combat heroin use in our community.

Bergman said Akshar has worked as an undercover officer and has experience with drug dealers.    

He said Fiala has no right to criticize since she's never been in that situation.

"He was putting his neck on the line every day. He's interacting with drug dealers, knocking down doors, not knowing what's behind those doors. For a politician or public servant that gets to sit behind a desk all day, very safe, to make those sort of comments is insulting," he said.

Pleus said she has invited Fiala to a number of events regarding addiction awareness and Fiala has never showed up.

NewsChannel 34 spoke to Fiala Thursday afternoon.

She said she's never received any invitations.

The Democrat also said she's recently met with parents who have lost children to overdose. 

Fiala said if elected, she will secure funding for a detox center for our region.

She also said a background in law enforcement doesn't necessarily translate to being a good senator.

"That's not a qualification for a senator. A Senator needs to look at legislation and what legislation can do to help bring down the heroin epidemic," she said.

Fiala said although she has not publicized her plans to help end the heroin epidemic, she will soon be releasing her initiatives.

Fiala also said she has the utmost respect for law enforcement.

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