Four Seeking North Country Senate Seat
At least four candidates are seeking to represent New York’s 45th State Senate District next year after Republican Betty Little retires.
Betty Little has served in the State Senate since 2003, and her 45th District is the largest in the state, covering Warren, Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties and parts of St. Lawrence and Washington counties.
When she announced she would retire in December, Republican Assemblyman Dan Stec threw his hat in the race. He spoke to WAMC at the time.
“I am a North Country guy and I've got the passion to do it. I think that I have something that I can contribute to try to maybe slow some of the direction that New York City is tending to bring us. And so when Senator Little said she was retiring, you know, I just felt like I had a role to play to help in the Senate,” said Stec.
Stec’s 114th Assembly District is located in the southern portion of the 45th Senate District. A former Queensbury town supervisor, he was first elected to the Assembly in 2012.
Stec knocks the current state government, controlled entirely by Democrats.
“In good economic times we've got a $6 billion hole to fill this year. We're going to have to make some hard decisions and we can't keep saying yes to everything because our $176 billion state budget is only going to balloon from there,” said Stec.
Two candidates are seeking to run against Stec in a Republican primary.
Carman Bogle is the mayor of the Village of Cambridge in Washington County, first elected in 2015.
Bogle highlights her career in village government and also her experience working part-time for Republican Jake Ashby, who represents New York’s 107th Assembly District.
“I think coming into this will be extremely helpful, because local government – they are in the trenches of government,” said Bogle.
Among her priorities, Bogle is focused on mandate relief. With the budget season underway, much of the conversation in Albany has focused on Medicaid. Municipal leaders across the state are concerned about potential increases in their Medicaid payments to close the state budget gap, while at the same time, remaining under a tax cap.
“One year I was only allowed to increase the levy by $6,000. But, when you have mandates that come down that pretty much eat away that, you start looking at your budget and trying to process, ‘Well, how are we still going to provide the basic services that we do and still meet these demands?’”
Also seeking the Republican nomination is Kevin Beary, a retired English teacher from Colton in St. Lawrence County.
“I think I can bring a fresh perspective to Albany because, you know, I’m not a politician,” said Beary.
Beary calls himself a conservative Republican with traditional values. His focus is on development in the Adirondack region.
“I think the area could be developed for tourism – wellness tourism, especially, which is tourism associated with fitness and health,” said Beary.
Beary has strong views on New York’s party system. He wants to abolish so-called fusion voting, which allows minor parties to cross endorse candidates. He blamed fusion voting for his loss in a run for county legislator two years ago, saying his Democratic opponent was also on the Working Families and Conservative Party lines – endorsements he characterized as conflicting.
“So if I do get elected to the Senate, I would definitely introduce a bill that would abolish fusion voting,” said Beary.
Also in the running is Kimberly Davis, who has served as Clinton County Treasurer since 2014.
“We need a moderate Democrat in the State Senate representing our area, because I can have those conversations with our downstate friends. Our opponent may be able to say, ‘I’m going to defend your rights,’ but if he doesn’t have a seat at the table, how much is he really going to be able to do?”
Davis, a Democrat, declared her candidacy in May 2019, well before Senator Little announced her retirement in the traditionally Republican district.
Like her potential opponents Bogle and Stec, Davis is also focused on mandate relief. She says she would represent the district’s rural values and prioritize fiscal responsibility.
“To me, it’s acting in as much of a bipartisan manner as possible, not judging something on a bill on who is bringing it in front of me – a Republican or a Democrat – but how are we going to pay for that?”
State Senate primary elections are June 23rd.