HILLSDALE– The 108th Assembly District includes the towns of Chatham, Kinderhook, New Lebanon and Stuyvesant in Columbia County and the towns of Schodack, Nassau and Stephentown in Rensselaer County among municipalities there. The district also includes towns in Albany and Greene counties. This year, two men are seeking the seat in the state’s lower house, Tim Gordon, an Independence Party member who also has the Democratic and Working Family Party lines, and Steve McLaughlin, a Republican endorsed also by the Conservative Party.
Registration in the district shows that GOP registrants have a very small lead over registered Democrats followed closely by the third largest bloc, voters who have no party affiliation. Tim Gordon
Tim Gordon, 46, has represented the 108th Assembly district since 2007. In a phone interview with The Columbia Paper Thursday, October 21, he said the big issue for him is “economic well being.”
He said his specific issues are new jobs for the area and property tax relief. “I’m supporting the 2% property cap, as is Andrew Cuomo,” he said. Assemblymen Gordon said he hopes to pass the cap as soon as the new session starts. He said the property cap would create pressure on local school districts, which fund their budgets based on property taxes, so he supports mandate relief for them.
As for job creation in the 108th district, Mr. Gordon said he sees three main pieces. He feels it’s important to support agriculture saying that like industry, farms produce something of value for the consumer.
The second piece is nanotechnology in Capital Region. He said this area is “truly becoming a global world leader in nanotech.” Mr. Gordon said that the nanotech companies that are moving into the area are going to create 9,000 permanent jobs and 5,000 construction jobs. “This is real,” he said of job creation by companies like Sematec and GlobalFoundries.
The final piece for creating new jobs, as Mr. Gordon sees it, is renewable energy. Mr. Gordon helped create a law to permit net metering for businesses, farms and government buildings so they can sell electricity back into the grid and reduce their energy costs. He said that because of the laws concerning renewable energy, businesses are moving to the area and a company called Wind Products is working out a deal to open in Columbia County, bringing 50 new manufacturing jobs.
Mr. Gordon said in his time in office he has helped local businesses cut through the red tape to prosper and expand.
As for the Lafarge Cement plant, Mr. Gordon said he approves of the company’s clean-up plan but that it will take significant private investment to make their improvements.
He lives in Slingerlands, in the Town of Bethlehem, with his wife Christina and their four children. Mr. Gordon is the founder of Albany Media Group, an advertising and public relation firm that works with small businesses and not-for-profit organizations.
Steve McLaughlin, 47, is the Republican candidate for the 108th Assembly District. In a phone interview with The Columbia Paper, Mr. McLaughlin said that the big issues for him are jobs, spending, taxes and corruption in Albany. He promises that if elected to the Assembly he will not vote for tax increases. “We are spending too much money,” he said of the state.
He also feels strongly about regulations on private sector businesses. He said that the only way for this state to succeed is through a “healthy private sector,” but he worries that small businesses are leaving the state because of regulations. “We are over-regulated, over-fined, over-taxed,” he said. Regulations needed to be streamlined, he said, not completely done away with.
As for the property tax cap, which is currently being discussed in Albany, he said would only support a 2% cap, but he thinks that even that is much is too high. “We need to cut taxes,” he said, but stressed that first Albany must cut spending.
When discussing the Lafarge Cement Plant in Ravena, Mr. McLaughlin said that he recently toured the plant and felt the company is moving in the right direction building a new, cleaner manufacturing process. “Lafarge is on the right track,” he said, noting that the company is a local employer.
Mr. McLaughlin has never held elective office. He ran against Mr. Gordon two years ago. When asked about being a newcomer to Albany and part of minority party if elected, he said he felt it was important to get more Republicans in the Assembly to fight the control of Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat from New York City. He said he felt Speaker Silver was anti-upstate. “I’m disgusted by the behavior in Albany,” he said.
Mr. McLaughlin lives in Melrose with his wife and two teenage children. He was raised in Massachusetts and has lived in New York State for 25 years. He was an airline pilot but says he lost his job after the terrorist attacks for 9/11. Mr. McLaughlin, who has an MBA, now works for Citizen Bank helping secure loans for small businesses.