GHENT—At its northeastern edge, New York State Assembly District 102 includes the Columbia County towns of Stockport and Stuyvesant. The rest of the district stretches through all of Greene and Schoharie Counties, and parts of Delaware, Albany, Otsego and Ulster counties.
The contest to serve this swath of the state is between Chris Tague (R), who currently holds the post, and Aidan O’Connor Jr. (D). The term is two years.
The two candidates faced each other in April of this year in a special election to fill the seat vacated by Peter Lopez. Mr. Tague won that contest by what the O’Connor campaign reports was 159 votes.
Election Day is Tuesday, November 6. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Below, the candidates, in alphabetical order, answer a questionnaire sent by The Columbia Paper.
Aiden O’Connor Jr.
Mr. O’Connor, 30, was born in the Bronx and graduated from Greenville High School. He earned a paramedic certificate at SUNY Cobleskill and is business manager of LifeNet of New York. He is also a paramedic lab instructor at SUNY Cobleskill and a paramedic with the Greenport Rescue Squad.
Since 2015 Mr. O’Connor has been a Greene County legislator, representing the Town of Durham. His Assembly candidacy is endorsed by the Democrat, Women’s Equality and Working Families parties.
Mr. O’Connor was previously a volunteer emergency medical technician and lieutenant of the Greenville Volunteer Rescue Squad (2005-09). He serves on the boards of Community Action of Greene County, Greene County EMS Council and Regional EMS Council.
He is a board member and past president of Greene County Paramedics. He is president of the Rotary Club of Cairo and a medical volunteer for Honor Flight.
In 2013 Mr. O’Connor received the 2012 REMO Harriet C. Webber Leadership Award (EMS). He has also received commendation certificates from the Greene County Legislature and Greene County EMS Council, both in 2010.
Mr. O’Connor submitted the following statement:
“Growing up in Greene County, I was raised by a family of public servants, and I knew I wanted to follow in their footsteps as a first responder. After completing SUNY Cobleskill’s paramedic program, I served as a paramedic here at home, five years of which I was a flight paramedic.
“In 2015 I ran for county legislator in Durham to help solve the issues I saw as a paramedic—lack of EMS funding, difficulty accessing health services, the opioid crisis—and became the youngest person ever elected to the Greene County Legislature.
I know the issues my constituents face intimately, and will work hard every day for every resident, regardless of party affiliation. That is why I am asking for your vote on November 6—to finally bring resources so desperately needed back to our communities. We need someone who can deliver results, and I can do that.
Mr. O’Connor visits Stuyvesant Saturday, October 27 at 3 p.m. for the Celebrate the Harvest party at the home of Rev. Kathryn and Dan Beilke, 831 County Route 25 in Stuyvesant Falls. Entry is free; a hat will be passed.
For more information, go to aidanforassembly.com.
Mr. Tague, 49, was born in Schoharie and lives there now. He is a graduate of Schoharie Central Schools. Since 1993 he has worked for Cobleskill Stone Products, Inc., currently as general manager. Prior to that he was a self-employed dairy farmer from 1987 until he sold the business in 1993. He is the father of two children, aged 20 and 21.
Mr. Tague won his Assembly seat in a special election last April, held after Pete Lopez joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Mr. Tague had previously been elected to two terms as Schoharie town supervisor (2015-18). His current candidacy is endorsed by the Republican, Conservative, Independence and Reform parties.
Mr. Tague, who was named Republican of the Year in 2005, is active in his professional and political communities. His long list of affiliations includes membership in the NYS Business Council, Schoharie County Kiwanis Treasurer and Board of Directors, and former chairman of the Empire State Association of Builders and Contractors.
In 2011 Mr. Tague lost everything—home, property, possessions—in the floods associated with Hurricanes Irene and Lee. He stayed and rebuilt.
Mr. Tague submitted the following statement:
“Since the special election this past April, I have worked tirelessly for every member of the 102nd Assembly District. I voted against a $72 million tax increase to stop oppressive taxation on our hardworking families, and I signed onto the most comprehensive ethics reform bill in the country.
I plan to introduce legislation enacting term limits—six two-year terms for legislators and two four-year terms for the executive—and legislation to provide incentives to schools and colleges to include locally sourced dairy and produce products in their lunch programs.
Within my first six weeks in Albany I was voted the #1 pro-business legislator in the state, out of both the Senate and Assembly. I ask for your vote this upcoming Election Day so that we can keep one of us in Albany—an ordinary, everyday, hard-working, rural upstate New Yorker—to fight for our way of life and our values.”
For more information visit tagueforassembly.com.