A Woodstock Democrat is once again running for New York’s 46th Senate District seat – held by Republican George Amedore.
Jeff Collins began a run for the 46th District in 2018 but later threw his support behind fellow Democrat Pat Strong. The District includes parts of Albany, Schenectady, and Ulster Counties, and all of Montgomery and Greene Counties. Collins says, this time, he’s in it for as long as voters permit.
“The real reason that I’m running in this race is that I feel like New York has been a leader in solving, in finding solutions to issues in our country in the past. And I feel like New York can be a leader in the future in finding some solutions to issues that our country’s that our country’s facing, primarily in health care,” Collins says. “We’re a large enough state that we can enact a single-payer system, and have that system be a test bed for the rest of the nation, and show what happens when we really believe that health insurance should value people over profits, and that health care really is a human right. And, I think, if we can do that in New York, and show that that’s something that really works, it really makes a difference, then the nation can take that on.”
Collins is co-founder of the Kingston-based, non-profit K-12 Hudson Valley Sudbury School.
“The major issue that I would want to bring forth and has not yet passed is the New York Health Act,” says Collins. “I would support that Act and I would help get that Act passed.”
“The other big issue to me is home health care. It’s something that has not been looked at as well as it should be looked at. We are an upstate and aging population. And we need to have a system for whom health care for our elderly so that they can be taken care of in their homes instead of having to go to a nursing home or other facility,” Collins says. “The other part of that is that the people that provide home health care services are not really paid that well, and there’s no career path for those workers. So we need to create a career path for home health care workers, so as they gain experience and get older, they can advance in that career path. We also have to ensure that their pay is a living wage.”
Collins says the upstate economy needs to be revitalized in tandem with environmental goals.
“One idea that we have looked at in my campaign is what can we do to help farmers. Obviously, as you know, hemp is now legal in New York. And hemp is a crop that can do really well in New York. In fact, New York used to be the number-one hemp supplier in the country back before it became illegal in the 1920s,” Collins says. “And that crop really yields about 10 times the income per acre as corn or wheat. And, if we can encourage that and make that more available, then that can help farmers create more money. It can help build back family farms.”
Collins is a partner in Pondview Produce in Trumansburg, a licensed New York Hemp Research Partner. He is also an investor in New York Hemp Oil, a hemp processor in Cortland. Collins recognizes the challenge of running in the 46th District.
“It’s a very difficult district to win. And it’s difficult to win not because of the number of registered voters — there are actually more registered Democrats than Republicans in the district — but it’s difficult to win because of the size of it, because of the time that it takes to connect with the voters, because of the varying issues between the different parts of the district,” says Collins. “It’s very different to run a campaign in Ulster County than it is Montgomery County.”
“We’re going to do lots of meet and greets. We’re going to base offices in Guilderland and Ulster and someplace in the north, probably in Montgomery County, not exactly sure where yet,” says Collins.
Democrat Michelle Hinchey, daughter of the late New York Congressman Maurice Hinchey, is exploring a run for the seat. In a statement, Republican Senator George Amedore said, “We have another legislative session coming up where we will continue to address many important issues that impact the lives of my constituents, and all New Yorkers. I look forward to a spirited debate about the future of New York with all candidates.”