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Democrat Enters Race For 43rd Senate District

Lucas Willard

Recently re-elected Democratic Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen, joined by Democratic Party officials from the surrounding region, introduced the latest candidate to enter the race for New York’s 43rd Senate District.

“And I now proudly introduce Shaun Francis!” said Yepsen.

Francis, a native of the Capital Region, is making his run for the state senate his first foray into politics. The 36-year-old addressed his crowd of supporters at the Saratoga Hilton saying he is seeking to bring a change to the state legislature.

“Albany is a state of perpetual gridlock, where the only thing that does seem to move through the halls of the Capital is the campaign cash of the lobbyists and well-connected.”

Francis, who lives in Wilton, is seeking to represent the district that covers portions of Saratoga, Washington, Rensselaer, and all of Columbia County. In addition to serving as a labor union organizer, he has had a professional career as an umpire for minor league baseball.

“Now, I hope that none of you have felt what it’s like to have an entire stadium of fans boo you all at once. I have. But that’s because for 12 years I was been paid to exercise good judgement and make tough calls when the game was on the line, even when those calls were unpopular with the hometeam fans.”

Francis says implementing a government reform plan is a top priority. He’s calling for closing the LLC loophole, publicly financed elections, and prohibiting the use of taxpayer dollars for campaign mailings. He’s also seeking to make the legislature full-time and restricting outside income.

In his speech, Francis also said he would support a fair wage for workers and helping small businesses by cutting red tape. He voiced his support for public school teachers and women’s right to chose.

Francis was also not afraid to question to record of Republican State Senator Kathy Marchione.

“And unlike my opponent, you can know for absolute certain that when I walk through the door of the capital on day one I will not be there to fall in line with the status quo, and I’ll stand up to the say-no-to-everything extremists and I’ll put people first.”

Marchione, who has served since 2013, called Francis’ claims typical campaign rhetoric and said she plans to run on her record.

She is touting her votes to extend the two-percent property tax cap to 2020 and to codify the state’s self-imposed spending cap.  She mentioned measures for school, energy, and property tax relief, and the creation of tax credits for hiring veterans.

“I can go on and on about the successes that we have had in the time that I have been here as a legislator, and those are the things that I’m going to focus in on. People expect that their legislators can come back and say, ‘These are some of the things we’ve done, and we’re looking forward to doing even more.’”

Marchione says she will consider an official campaign kickoff after she is finished speaking with regional committees

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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