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As Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple drops state Senate bid, Ashby-Smyth race takes shape

Republican 107th district Assemblyman Jake Ashby and former Democratic Rensselaer County Executive candidate Andrea Smyth-Massaroni.
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nyassembly.gov / twitter
Republican 107th district Assemblyman Jake Ashby and former Democratic Rensselaer County Executive candidate Andrea Smyth-Massaroni

The race is set for New York’s new 43rd state Senate District.

Republican 107th district Assemblyman Jake Ashby and former Democratic Rensselaer County Executive candidate Andrea Smyth-Massaroni will face off in the redrawn 43rd Senate District, which encompasses all of Rensselaer County, northwestern Albany County including Cohoes, Watervliet, and Colonie and all but the northern edge of Washington County.

Prior to redistricting Smyth-Massaroni had entered the race for the 46th seat.

“The district that I'm running in now includes all of Rensselaer County," said Smyth-Massaroni. "We're very excited in Rensselaer County that the county is unified in one Senate seat. Under the previous map, Rensselaer had been divided into three separate state Senate seats, and that's no longer the issue. So the voters here who know my record of success and accomplishments, who know what a energetic and thorough campaigner I am, and, and know me are excited about this race.”

Ashby, in office since 2018, says his record of being able to work with people regardless of their political affiliation is a definite plus.

"There are a lot of issues that are important to the people of the 43rd district," Ashby said. "You know, obviously, our economy is struggling right now, criminal justice, is struggling as well. And I think that we've encountered a lot of opposition. And we haven't seen, we haven't seen people working together in good ways. We've seen a lot of the 'if you're doing this then I'm doing that.' and people not talking to each other.”

Ashby says he's keen on addressing the housing shortage and interested in changing bail reform.

“One of the things that I wish we were able to come to an agreement on is judicial discretion," said Ashby. "When we look at neighboring states that have made similar changes like New Jersey, they made a compromise on that. And I know that may be difficult to, to look at, from an oppositional perspective. But I think it's important. And I wish that we had, I wish that we had done that because I think we would have I think we would have seen more success with that legislation.”

Smyth-Massaroni sees a slightly different set of critical issues facing the 43rd.

“This district is very unique. There are some heavily populated suburban areas, and there are extremely rural communities included as well," Smyth-Massaroni said. "So my focus is going to be gun control and the safety of children and families, women's rights and good green jobs. The infrastructure money can go to helping all of these communities, rural and suburban, with clean drinking water, and storm surge, and repairing roads and bridges, so they can withstand any future storms. My goal in housing, in the affordable housing discussion is talk about incentives for more housing, and to make sure that the upstate voice is injected into this debate. I am very concerned about working class families being expensed out of being able to afford homes close to where they work.”

Last month, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple launched a brief run for the seat, but withdrew days later. The Democrat said on social media he is happy being sheriff.

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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