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Activist Joe Seeman Enters State Assembly Race

Joe Seeman in costume protesting in Glens Falls in 2014
Lucas Willard
Joe Seeman in costume protesting in Glens Falls in 2014

A well-known progressive activist is running for a New York State Assembly seat in Schenectady and Saratoga counties.

Joe Seeman is a common sight at political protests. He’s perhaps best known in the greater Capital Region as organizing outside of Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s District Office in Glens Falls.

Earlier this week, Seeman announced his intention to run for New York’s 112th Assembly District.

“I’m running to be a voice for the average people, the people of Saratoga and Schenectady Counties, for the 99 percent – not for the richest one percent, for Wall Street, for big corporations.”

Seeman, who lives in Ballston Spa, is running as a Working Families Democrat. He is seeking the seat currently held by Republican Mary Beth Walsh. Walsh, of Ballston, has represented the district since 2017.

Seeman is running on a platform that includes pushing New York toward 100 percent renewable energy, automatic voter registration, addressing corruption, and health care.

“We can save money by having public health insurance, like we have in Canada, where the per capita costs of health insurance are about half of what we have,” said Seeman.

With the general election still ten months away, Walsh says it’s too early to focus on who she will be running against in November.

“I think opposition, though, as a general sense is a positive thing. That’s our system and I agree with it. I have no problem having an opponent, I just really think that there’s a lot of governing things that I need to do to do my job properly now,” said Walsh.

Seeman says he is inviting Walsh to appear at all forums he plans to have with voters.

But discussing his potential November opponent, Seeman said Walsh’s voice in Albany is limited as both houses of the state legislature are controlled by Democrats.

“And Mary Beth Walsh, as long as she stays with the Republican caucus – perhaps she would want to come over and join the Democratic caucus, she would have a voice, perhaps – but right now she really doesn’t have any kind of voice,” said Seeman.

Walsh maintains that as a member of the minority conference, she has a role in providing a check on one-party rule with Democrat Andrew Cuomo in the governor’s office.

“Anything that comes to the floor is passing, so it’s important that there at least be a vigorous debate and pointing out the bad ideas before they get passed. I think bail reform is a perfect example of something that was passed last year that was a mistake. I think that it swung too far,” said Walsh.

In fact, on Thursday, the second day of the legislative session, new Assembly Minority Leader William Barclay told members of his conference that addressing the criminal justice reforms passed as part of the state budget last April was a top priority.

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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