GHENT–On Tuesday, April 24 a special election will take place to fill two state Assembly seats left vacant by Republicans Steve McLaughlin and Peter Lopez. The two former assemblymen who represented the 107th and 102nd districts, respectively. Mr. McLaughlin was elected Rensselaer County executive and Mr. Lopez was named regional administrator for the EPA.
Voters in the special election will elect new Assembly members to fill the two seats for the remaining eight months of their two-year terms.
One of the biggest challenges facing candidates in special elections like these is voter turnout, leaving open the possibility of upsets due to far fewer voters show up compared to the general election in November.
102nd Assembly District
The 102nd District includes Stockport and Stuyvesant in Columbia County, as well as Greene, and Schoharie counties, and parts of Albany, Ostego, Delaware, and Ulster counties. The race for this seat is a three-way contest with Democrat Aiden S. O’Connor, Jr. (also on the Working Families and Women’s Equality ballot lines), Republican Christopher Tague, (also on the Conservative, Independence and Reform lines), and independent Wesley D. Laraway running on the on the Best Choice Party line.
Wesley Laraway is a teacher at Middleburgh Central School. If elected to the Assembly, he hopes to fight for term limits, campaign finance reform, and rural technology, with an emphasis on broadband access. Additionally, he says he is an advocate for farmers, and supports education “with a focus on vocational training for jobs and adult education”. Mr. Laraway also operates a privately funded animal rescue facility. www.facebook.com/larawayforassembly/
Aidan O’Connor, Jr., from Greene County, now serves on the Greene County legislature for Durham. He is also a Regional Business Development Manager for LifeNet.
With a background in Emergency Medical Services, Mr. O’Connor has seen firsthand the devastating effects of Opioid abuse in our community, and hopes to continue his support of local programs that combat it, as well as bringing more in-patient services to the district. Mr. O’Connor also supports stricter gun safety laws and hopes to be instrumental in bringing broadband to the district. https://aidanforassembly.com/
Christopher Tague is the Supervisor of Town of Schoharie. He hopes to prevent rural New York from being left behind when it comes to broadband, economic development and infrastructure. After having successfully lowered taxes in his own town, he aims to do the same if he gets elected; he also wants to help to bring back agriculture-based business to the district area. https://tagueforassembly.com/
107th Assembly District
The 107th District includes the Columbia County Towns of Austerlitz, Canaan, Chatham, Hillsdale, Kinderhook and New Lebanon, as well as most of Rensselaer County and a small portion of Washington County. The two candidates are Republican Jake Ashby (also on the Conservative, Independence and Reform Party lines) and Democrat Cindy Doran (also on the Working Families and Women’s Equality Party lines).
Jake Ashby, a Schodack resident, is an army veteran, and a Rensselaer County legislator and an occupational therapist, representing the Towns of Sand Lake, Schodack and Nassau. With this background-he was a captain and served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan–he is a proponent of support for veterans. He hopes to help repeal the SAFE Act gun control law if elected to office. He aims to promote small business expansion, and do away with government corruption.
He is also wants the damage done to the environment in places like Hoosick Falls repaired while holding the right people responsible for their actions. His campaign website states that he believes “it is imperative to capitalize on our common interests and work together. www.ashbyforassembly.com
Cindy Doran has been a member of the Rensselaer County Legislature since 2013. She was a school teacher in Troy for over 30 years. With her background in education, Ms. Doran hopes to ensure schools receive sufficient state funding. She is also a firm believer in a single-payer health care system to provide everyone with healthcare access, and plans to push for better regulations in the state to prevent future water pollution crises. She wants to ban military-grade assault weapons, and enforce stricter background checks to prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands. www.facebook.com/Doran4Assembly/
Polls in the two Assembly District will be open Tuesday, April 24 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. A notice from the Columbia County Board of Elections listing the polling sites in the county for this election appears on Page 3 of this issue. For more information on voting, contact the Board of Elections at 518-8283115 or www.columbiacountyny.com/elections.