New York state Senator George Amedore announced over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend that he will not seek re-election in 2020. Two Democratic candidates already running for the 46th District seat say their own campaigns are advancing unchanged.
Republican State Senator Amedore released a statement Friday. He spoke with WAMC News shortly thereafter.
“I never intended to be a career politician. I believe in term limits. I’ve been there now for 12 years, and I’ve accomplished a lot of the great goals and things that I always set out to do,” Amedore says. “But one thing that we still need to work on is make New York more affordable. And I’m not going to stop serving the people so, we’ll continue to do what I got to do, going back into the private sector and spending time with my family that has sacrificed a great deal.”
The news was a bit surprising to Democrat Michelle Hinchey, who launched her campaign in September.
“There has been a lot of speculation about him stepping down, so it’s been out there, whether that’s because of the race or because of potential earnings caps, etcetera, but you never know until it’s happens. So we haven’t been, we haven’t been planning on it, we’ve just have been really focused on our campaign,” says Hinchey.
She refers to a ban on outside income for state legislators that a state Supreme Court judge reversed in June. It would have impacted one of the legislature’s top earners of outside income – Amedore, who is vice president of Amedore Homes. Hinchey is the daughter of the late New York Congressman Maurice Hinchey, who died around Thanksgiving in 2017.
“Listen, I think that while Senator Amedore and I have fundamental differences on the issues, I thank him for his service and for serving the community of upstate New York,” Hinchey says. “I’m just really excited to continue with our campaign and meeting with residents across all five counties and continuing the conversation about what matters most to them and the type of representation that they want to see in Albany.”
Jeff Collins of Woodstock announced his candidacy over the summer. He reacts to Amedore’s decision.
“I’m not totally surprised but it’s an interesting… it changes the race, a lot,” says Collins.
Collins says his message remains the same, including moving to single-payer health insurance coverage by passing the New York Health Act.
“I’m still going to do the same thing that we plan on doing which is to get our view of the issues out there, to connect with as many voters as possible and to really just represent who we want to be as a representative of the district,” says Collins.
Collins, who began a run for the 46th District in 2018 but later threw his support behind fellow Democrat Pat Strong, says Amedore’s decision could fuel more Democrats to enter the race.
“The politics of having an incumbent not run creates in many people’s minds more opportunity,” Collins says. “So I think that will be why we’ll see more people enter the race than we probably initially expected.”
“I’ve been really excited about the level of support that our campaign has garnered to this point, and it’s clear that people across the 46th really want new leadership I think that appropriately represents and fights for their interests,” Hinchey says. “So I’m just focused on travelling from Ulster to Montgomery and meeting with those people to make sure that we can really make a stand and fight for them.”
Amedore began in the state Assembly in 2007 and is in his third state Senate term. He was interrupted for one term when Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk defeated him by a handful of votes in 2012. Amedore says his office has scored many victories, from public policy issues to workers compensation reforms. And Amedore has some advice to his successor, starting with understanding the large and diverse district.
“You need to know how to listen. You need to know how to be… and have the willingness to really put your self-interest aside and roll up your sleeves and work hard because it’s, it takes a lot of work and it takes a lot of dedication to be successful, in anything you do, but this particular district, it’s unique,” says Amedore.
The 46th District includes parts of Albany, Schenectady and Ulster Counties, and all of Montgomery and Greene Counties.