Candidates for the 113th district seat in the New York State Assembly met for a voter forum Monday night in Schuylerville.
Two-term incumbent Democrat Carrie Woerner is facing a challenge from Republican Morgan Zegers, a 21-year-old Malta resident.
The voter forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Saratoga County at Schuylerville Town Hall gave Zegers a chance to prove her seriousness as a candidate opposite Woerner, who won re-election with a double-digit margin two years ago.
Zegers said she’s not trying to bring a 21-year-old’s perspective to the race, but rather the viewpoint of a “working class, frustrated, taxpaying” resident.
“I’ve had over eight jobs at this point and I would say they were all professional unless that’s an insult to people who work in the working class,” said Zegers. “To me, I am going to bring a really important perspective, especially against Governor Cuomo and the Albany Assembly Democrats who are continuing to over-regulate our businesses, who are continuing to vote for tax hikes, and who are continuing to pass legislation that is out of touch with upstate New York. That’s why I’m running.”
Zegers’ main strategy appeared to be attempting to tie Woerner to Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo. The 113th Assembly District includes parts of Saratoga and Washington Counties, both of which went to Cuomo challenger Cynthia Nixon in September’s Democratic Primary.
Woerner highlighted her 30 years of experience in the private sector before her career in politics. Touting legislative accomplishments, she said she worked for the business community to reform workers’ compensation in New York.
“I stood up to the Assembly Democrats and said ‘This is our time, we have to do this, we have got to modernize the worker’s comp system.’ As a result of that, we took $2 billion out of the workers’ comp system, which will be reflected in rates which the businesses have to pay,” said Woerner.
Zegers responded, claiming Woerner has been silent on corruption and again attempted to link her with the governor.
“Some of the best experiences that I’ve had are when people literally look like they are just thankful that somebody is going to run and bring a powerful voice when Governor Cuomo disrespects them,” said Zegers. “I also think the middle class and working class is disenfranchised by these people who think they are holier than thou.”
As an example, Zegers said she would fight against a proposal by Governor Cuomo to eliminate the tipped wage.
Woerner shot back, saying she believes her constituents are “smart enough” to make draw their own conclusions from news coverage of Albany corruption and make their choice at the ballot box.
“They don’t need my help. I am a…to say that I am holier-than-thou? Good God. I led 17,000 servers in opposition to Governor Cuomo’s proposal to strip the tipped-wage credit,” said Woerner.
Woerner said she is not the governor’s friend, and he is not hers.
As the debate continued, Zegers continued her focus on the governor, and mentioned him in her closing statement.
“When we have a current incumbent who is maybe vocal about an eigth of the issues that Cuomo has brought to our state, it’s not enough for me and I will promise to more than that.”
Woerner closed by reiterating her record over the last four years.
“I have passed legislation that is derived from the input that I’ve gotten from my constituents, I’ve brought resources back to meet critical needs in the district, and I am accessible all through a variety of different ways, and accountable to you and only to you for the work that I do.”