There will be special election on Tuesday, April 24 to fill the vacant seat in the New York State Assembly. The Republican candidate is Jake Ashby, presently a member of the Rensselaer County Legislature. The Democratic candidate is Cindy Doran, also a member of the legislature. We profiled both candidates several weeks back. We know decided to ask them three simple questions as they pertain to Eastern Rensselaer County and Northern Columbia County. The district also includes two towns in Washington County. Here are their answers.
1). What do you identify as the top issues/concerns facing the eastern portion of the district?
Visiting different parts of the 107th district, I’ve spoke with hundreds of residents and listened to their concerns. Residents worry about contaminated water and the long-term health problems for their family as they turn on their tap. They worry about funding our public education system and the focus toward testing that’s put unneeded stress on our students and teachers. They worry about the politicians that were elected to serve but use their position of power to abuse the public’s trust and mistreat women. And they worry about the high taxes on families and businesses.
New York taxes are the highest in the nation, and mandates restrain growth and threaten taxpayers and needed services on the local level.
2). Having identified these issues, how will you address them?
Jake Ashby: As Assemblyman, I would introduce legislation to allow counties greater flexibility in deciding what mandated services be provided. Currently, New York State provides not only all federally-mandated services, but all optional federal services, and requires counties to pay 25 percent. Allowing counties to decide which optional mandates are provided would save millions of dollars in each county.
I will support expansion and improvement of infrastructure to help with job creation and protect health, safety and quality of life.
I will also support anti-corruption efforts and measures to make state government more open, honest and effective.
Cindy Doran: Water Quality:
In the Assembly I will push for state and federal officials to fix the water crisis in Hoosick Falls as well as make sure the GE Fort Edward site clean up continues until it’s done correctly because clean water is a right, not a luxury. I will also support measures to invest in our infrastructure, as well as hold those who contaminate our waterways accountable and liable for remediation costs.
What works in one school or district might not work in another. We need to get politicians out of our classrooms and let our teachers, principals and superintendents decide what will work best for their students. I will work to ensure our school districts receive their fair share of state aid and make sure our focus is on the quality of our education system rather than testing.
In the Assembly, I support the 2 percent property tax cap to hold down property taxes and ensure hardworking families have more money in their pockets. I will also fight for mandate relief so municipalities aren’t financially strained as they provide essential services to the community.
In the Assembly I will have zero tolerance for politicians that abuse the public’s trust. With numerous incidents of sexual harassment coming to light on a regular basis, I will not stand silently by while people in power abuse their positions and take advantage of their employees. While recent steps were taken on the state level, I will continue to advocate for policies to end harassment.
3). What are the primary reasons the voters in our area should support you?
Cindy Doran: Growing up on a farm, teaching in Troy for over 30 years and serving as a Rensselaer County Legislator since 2013, I know the value of hard work. In the county legislature I voted for budgets that remained under the 2 percent tax cap, fought to raise the age to purchase tobacco to 21, as well as introduced resolutions to combat workplace harassment, including a measure to create a bipartisan committee to review county harassment policies.
Our community deserves a strong voice with solid values representing in Albany. I have what it takes to get real results for hardworking families of the 107th AD.
Jake Ashby: I was honored to serve our nation during two tours of combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Serving with outstanding men and women, and watching the positive impact our service had on oppressed people, including women and children, gave me a renewed respect for public service and the greatness of our nation. As Assemblyman, I would always ascribe to the highest standards of public service and be an advocate for our region and district, especially in the tradition of Assembly members like Steve McLaughlin, Pat Casale and Neil Kelleher. Upstate New York needs imaginative leaders, not career politicians just looking to go along with the status quo or prevailing majority. We saw how Steve McLaughlin’s aggressive and outspoken approach got results when water was threatened in Hoosick <file:///x-apple-data-detectors/::0> Falls, and how he spoke up when our constitutional freedoms were threatened. I want residents to know they will be able to count on me to fight for them and speak up when it is necessary.
Editor’s Note: first, we help this hopes inform you about each candidate, their idea’s, views and goals. But most importantly, whether it be for either of these candidates or someone else you choose to support, we urge you to vote in the special election on Tuesday, April 24. Polls are open from 6 am to 9 pm.