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NY's 102nd Assembly District: Candidates Discuss Issues

The race for New York's newly drawn 102nd Assembly district seat pits Republican Pete Lopez, seeking his fourth two-year term against Democratic challenger Jimmy Miller, who served for two decades as official spokesman for the Albany police department: Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas takes a closer look at the race.

Pete Lopez and Jimmy Miller have crossed paths many times on the campaign trail, engaging in debate and appearing at town-hall meetings: I caught up with them last Saturday in Rensselaerville at a candidate's forum, where they answered questions submitted by local residents.

Lopez traces his concern with the environment back to his original career path : he trained to be a park manager - he believes New York's economy could thrive without hydraulic fracturing, but is aware of the economic boost it could give local communities. Miller favors a moratorium on fracking.

The candidates have been racking up the miles traveling around the 102nd - which is comprised of all of Greene and Schoharie counties, parts of Albany, Delaware and Otsego counties, the towns of Stuyvesant and Stockport in Columbia County, plus the town of Saugerties in Ulster County.

Lopez has been representing the 127th District since 2006: he says for him, political office is all about "community."  

While some might wonder how Jimmy Miller wound up as an Assembly candidate in the new 102nd, Miller explains- having been born and raised in Greene county - it's a natural progression.

Lopez pointed out that for the last six years, he has worked 16 to 18 hours a day and travels 1,000 miles a week.

On legalizing casino gambling, Miller supports individual communities' right to choose - if that is something they would want. Lopez encourages incentives for businesses and manufacturing, he says it’s a better path to follow. Lopez calls New York's 2% property tax cap a "necessary evil" -  Miller pledges to find ways to work within the tax cap, improve schools, create jobs and increase the minimum wage.

Both candidates have fallen in line with Governor Cuomo's lead in putting aside party allegiance in favor of "getting things done."  Voters will decide come Election Day.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.