Note: WAMC reached out to Senator Daphne Jordan's campaign for an interview
Democrat Patrick Nelson is running for New York’s 43rd State Senate District against Republican incumbent Daphne Jordan, who is seeking a second two-year term.
Nelson is young at age 30 but has been active in local Democratic politics for the last several years. A DNC delegate for Bernie Sanders in 2016 and 2020, Nelson currently holds a seat on the Stillwater Village Board, and unsuccessfully ran in the Democratic primary for New York’s 21st Congressional District in 2018.
Nelson will appear on the ballot in November as he seeks to clinch a Senate district long-held by Republicans.
“We are underserved, we don’t get the legislative results that we need, we don’t get the resources from the state that our community deserves. So that was the initial reason [to run] back in February but then a global pandemic happened and a massive economic recession. And I think it becomes doubly important that we have a member of the State Senate that can actually get things done,” said Nelson.
A graduate of RPI in Troy, Nelson says he wants to bring his training in biochemistry and experience as an entrepreneur to Albany as the state finds a way to recover from the pandemic and economic downturn.
Nelson says political attitudes in the largely rural and suburban 43rd District are changing.
“We’ve seen in the new Siena polls that upstate New York is rejecting the radical right in Donald Trump and everything that he stands for and the candidates like Daphne Jordan that support him. The case that I make is about getting things done,” said Nelson.
As lawmakers debate over how to plug a multi-billion dollar state budget hole, Nelson supports raising revenues through a tax on so-called “ultra-millionaires,” as well as a bill that would collect revenues from Wall Street through a stock-transfer tax.
But after collecting, Nelson says the state must make new investments with the money. One of his ideas is the creation of a publicly-funded payroll system to allow small businesses to hire new employees free-of-charge.
Nelson says the state needs to redirect funding. As he touts an endorsement from New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, a fellow Democrat, Nelson points to recent audits that show outsized spending on Medicare and lower-than-expected returns on New York’s economic development programs under Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“Start-Up NY for example was based on tax incentives. Well, here’s the thing about start-ups: is for the first five years, most of them don’t pay any taxes because taxes are taken out of profits. And when you’re just getting going, you’re really not making a profit,” said Nelson.
Nelson has aggressively criticized Senator Jordan, who he says is refusing to debate him. Jordan has not accepted an invitation to participate in an upcoming virtual forum hosted by the League of Women Voters.
Jordan, who is seeking a second two-year term, was a Halfmoon town board member and aide to former State Senator Kathy Marchione.
Jordan is focusing her re-election campaign on tax-relief, “wasteful government spending and job-killing red tape” and supporting “the rule of law” and first responders.
Nelson calls Jordan ineffective, saying she puts partisan politics over her constituents.
“She spends more time spewing partisan, vitriolic talking points to a radical right-wing base that turns off a number of her colleagues that she needs to pass legislation,” said Nelson.
WAMC has reached out to Jordan's campaign for an interview.