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Senate 46th Rematch: Amedore v. Tkaczyk

Composite Image by Dave Lucas (WAMC)

Former Republican New York State Assemblyman George Amedore and Democratic State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk of Duanesburg are squaring off in a rematch for the 46th district Senate seat.

Two years have passed since Tkaczyk's 18-vote victory after many recounts that saw the lead shift back and forth and delayed the Senator's "official" arrival in Albany for two months. The seat was added to the Senate after the last round of reapportionment and was widely seen as tailor-made for then-Assemblyman Amedore. Now, the tables have turned; Tkaczyk is the incumbent lawmaker.

The race is considered key as Republicans and Democrats fight for control of the Senate in November.  The candidates today are as determined as they were last time around.

Senator Tkaczyk : "I'm standing up for my schools, I'm making sure we're getting our fair share. In the past two budget cycles we've seen a significant increase in education in state aid to small cities and school districts in the 46th Senate district, and that's becasue I've fought for our fair share.  One of the things I wanna see a focus on is getting more high speed internet service out into rural communities, because I think that's one of the things that will help spur economic development more than anything.

George Amedore: "We need strong property tax reform and reduce our property tax burdern. We want a strong economy and a strong job market. And people are very concerned, especially a lot of moms and parents who have children in school, with the Common Core."

The issue of "Votes in question" has emerged once again: Tkaczyk found herself knocked off the new Women's Equality Party due to invalid petition signatures.

A state Supreme Court judge ordered 3,160 of 4,444 signatures on her WEP petition designated invalid, leaving her well short of the 3,000 required to claim the line in November.

Amedore saw the WEP fiasco as an opportunity to hurl a stone or two: his campaign issued a press release that states "...Tkaczyk's petitions were carried and signed by out-of-district voters, who have no ties to the 46th Senate District, including pages upon pages from Brooklyn and the Bronx."

Amedore says that shouldn't surprise anyone:  "97 percent of the time she votes and represents the special interests of New York City,"  to which Tkaczyk replied  "And the reason for that is most of the Senate Republicans run the floor of the Senate, so all the bills that come across the floor are Republican bills, so what he's saying is I'm supporting Republican legislation, just like all of my other Democratic colleagues in the Senate."

The businessman Amedore's loss to Tkaczyk, a school board member, in 2012 came as a surprise — in fact, he gave a victory speech on election night. Weeks later, he was out of state government.   "Well, obviously the district was not drawn for me back in 2012, if so I would be the Senator."

Tkaczyk will again make women’s issues the centerpiece of her campaign.   "I wish George would focus on the facts and the issues because that's what the constituents in the 46th district are interested in. And there are some differences between George and I. One of them is that he is pro-life and has said that in the past he is pro-life with no exceptions. And he will not vote and hasn't voted for - and has a voting record - to support women's issues. He did not support issues on the  Womens' Equality Agenda such as pay equity, and he has clearly said he would not support codification of Roe v Wade into state law."

Amedore called Tkaczyk "hypocritical."    "I support women's rights. I support nine points or nine planks of the women's equality agenda, particularly with ensuring pay equity. It's unfortunate though that the democrats and the Democratic party in the senate, like Cecelia Tkaczyk, is holding up these very important nine issues because they want to have abortion up to the date of birth, with non-doctors performing that procedure."

In anticipation of a successful run, Amedore will be joined this Saturday by Congressman Chris Gibson, local elected officials and supporters for the grand opening of the Ulster Victory Headquarters in Kingston.

The 46th Senate District covers parts of Albany, Schenectady and Ulster counties and all of Greene and Montgomery counties.

Next Tuesday will be a long day for the candidates, scheduled to debate in the morning in Kingston and in the evening in Schenectady.

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.
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