By ARTHUR CLEVELAND
Republican George Amedore and Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk, who have opposing views on some issues, are vying for a new state Senate seat in the Nov. 6 election.
They are seeking the seat in the newly formed 46th Senate District, which includes all of Montgomery and Greene counties and parts of Schenectady, Albany and Ulster counties. The new district takes effect Jan. 1.
Amedore, of Rotterdam, is leaving his current Assembly seat in hopes of winning election to the Senate position.
He has promised to work on a bipartisan level with other members of the Legislature.
"There are no politics in business," Amedore said.
"My chances are very good; we have been working hard and we have an abundance of grassroots workers from all walks of life working behind our campaign," he said.
Tkaczyk (pronounced "ka-chick"), who has a farm in Duanesburg, has a strong background in agriculture and is a self-described expert on housing policy.
"I am very confident in my chances [of winning] as I have had a tremendous outpouring of support from the voters in this new district. The voters are responding to my message of kick-starting the upstate economy, helping small businesses and family farms grow and [putting] New Yorkers back to work, and making sure we get our fair share of state school aid for our rural and small-city farms," Tkaczyk said. "I look forward to bringing my ideas, experience and dedication to the state Senate next legislative session."
Tkaczyk, who also is running under the Working Families party line, is a former president and current vice president of the Duanesburg Central School District Board of Education.
She graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelor of science degree in agriculture. She has served as the executive director of the Neighborhood Preservation Coalition of New York and as the statewide advocacy director for the Supportive Housing Network of New York.
Tkaczyk has received more than $92,000 in campaign contributions and has spent more than $71,000, according to documents filed with the New York State Board of Elections.
Tkaczyk said she opposes any increases in New York State Thruway tolls, stating an increase would "make it harder for our state's real job creators, small businesses and entrepreneurs to grow and put New Yorkers back to work."
She stated her opposition to hydrofracking, a method used to extract natural gas. Some claim hydrofracking is a danger to the environment. Tkaczyk said she would support a ban on the practice.
Tkaczyk said there should be fewer unfunded state mandates on localities.
She also said she would work with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on stimulating job growth and would push for measures to lower the cost of health care on businesses.
"If we can reduce the cost, it would make it easier to hire people," Tkaczyk said.
Tkaczyk, who was raised on a farm, said she understands agricultural concerns.
She said the state should consider a revolving loan fund for local farmers. This would provide money to farmers in the form of low-interest loans. Once the loan is paid back, the money would be available for another loan to a farmer.
Amedore, also running on the Conservative and Independence lines, is vice president of Amedore Homes. He has served as the representative for the 105th Assembly District since 2007. He has served as a member of the Agriculture, Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Energy and Insurance Legislative Committees, as well as the Subcommittee on Export Trade. He received the Guardian of Small Business award from the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
Amedore has received more than $549,000 in campaign contributions and has spent more than $464,000, according to documents filed with the New York State Board of Elections.
Amedore, as assemblyman, has put forward several bills that would remove the right for the Thruway Authority to raise tolls and would give the state Legislature control of the tolls.
Amedore opposes a ban on hydrofracking, stating the effects of hydrofracking are not well known. He said banning the practice would play into fear. He said the ban wound "prohibit the experts to really study the impact, both on environmental and health issues."
"That is why I voted no. We need to take this decision out of the hands of politicians," Amedore said.
Amedore stressed natural gas found through the practice would remove the need for foreign oil and should only be banned if studies show hydrofracking is dangerous.
Amedore, who also pushes for deregulation and tax cuts, said farms should be treated like small businesses.
Farmers, Amedore stated, are overtaxed and burdened with regulations. He said this causes an increase in costs of operation, which ultimately increases the cost of food for the consumer.
Amedore said he has close connections with farmers and is part of the Circle of Friends for the Farm Bureau.
In the Assembly, Amedore has voted against the unionization of farm labor.
Amedore said unfunded mandates, high insurance costs and overregulation, as well as increases to the minimum wage, could negatively affect job creation in the state.
He said an increase in the minimum wage would cost employers money, forcing them to hire fewer people or even cut jobs. Amedore suggested a tax credit to employers to offset any increase in the minimum wage.
"That is the right way to send the message," Amedore said.
The 46th District will include all of Montgomery County; parts of Schenectady County, including Rotterdam, Duanesburg, Princetown and a small part of the city of Schenectady; parts of Albany County, including the the towns of Guilderland, Knox, Berne, Rensselaerville, Westerlo, New Scotland and Coeymans; all of Greene County; and parts of Ulster County, including the towns of Woodstock, Saugerties, Kingston, Ulster, Esopus, Marlborough and the city of Kingston.
State senators serve two-year terms and earn $79,500 per year and receive an allowance for daily expenses of $171 per day or $61 per half-day.