Michelle Hinchey, daughter of the late New York Congressman Maurice Hinchey, kicked off her bid Monday for New York state Senate. A number of elected officials were on hand, including one current and one former New York congressman.
Hinchey stood outside the Senate House in Kingston to formally announce her bid for the seat held by Republican George Amedore since 2015. She pledged to continue the legacy of her father.
“Again, I’m really quite humbled to be having this announcement here at the historic Senate site. For starters, this is where my father, Congressman Hinchey, announced his first campaign for Congress as well as his retirement from public service,” Hinchey says. “To be here starting this venture in the same place where he launched such an important part of his life is truly something special.”
Democratic Assemblyman Kevin Cahill of Kingston, a longtime friend of Maurice Hinchey, supports Michelle Hinchey.
“Well, this is a monumental day for our community when the Hinchey family reemerges as a political force,” Cahill says. “But it’s also important to recognize that Michelle is and of herself a good candidate for office.”
Maurice Hinchey, who died in November 2017, is remembered as an environmental champion and a man devoted to the public over 10 terms in Congress and eight in the legislature. John Hall, a musician and Democrat who served as a New York congressman from 2007-2010, was friends with Maurice Hinchey. Hall introduced the myriad speakers.
“I’m also guessing that she will be every bit the conscience when she’s elected to state Senate that Maurice Hinchey was in the New York state Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives,” Hall says.
Michelle Hinchey, who was born and raised in Saugerties, hopes to add to what is currently a Democratic Senate majority.
“I want to be a strong upstate voice in our caucus. I think that Jen Metzger and James Skoufis and the others have been incredible advocates, but we need more support. They need more support,” Hinchey says. “And for me, I just want to be out there supporting our families and our communities, making sure that we get, really first and foremost, the investment that we need back into our towns.”
Metzger and former Assemblyman Skoufis are both first-term state Senators who won in districts that were held for a long time by the same Republicans, John Bonacic and the late Bill Larkin, both of whom decided not to seek re-election.
Dan Ahouse served as Congressman Hinchey’s chief of staff and has remained a close friend of the family.
“It’s really, really exciting to see Michelle put herself out there now to continue the work that her father did that was so special to this region,” Ahouse says.
Michelle Hinchey worked on getting Democrat Antonio Delgado elected to Congress. And she spoke during an October 2018 rally for Delgado steps away from the Senate House headlined by former Vice President Joe Biden. Delgado, now in his first term in the 19th District, introduced Hinchey.
“She was raised at the feet of greatness and she lived a life of public service,” Delgado says. “And I think it’s time for her to step up and carry on the legacy. And I think she’ll do a great job.”
Republican George Amedore has been in the legislature since 2007 and is in his third Senate term in the 46th District. In a statement via his spokeswoman, Amedore says, “We have another legislative session next year, where we will continue to address many important issues with an impact on the lives of my constituents and all New Yorkers. I welcome her into the conversation and look forward to a spirited debate about the future of New York.” It’s the same statement he issued when Hinchey announced over the summer she was exploring a run.
“It is a very difficult district. This is a district that will go whichever way the candidate makes it go. We’ve had quality candidates run before. Pat Strong didn’t have the kind of financial support that she needed. She didn’t have the name recognition. I believe Michelle will have both of those things,” says Cahill. “And I think it’s a different time. I think 2020 is going to be a time when the Hudson Valley establishes itself as firmly blue.”
Another Democrat already announced a run for the same seat — Jeff Collins of Woodstock, who welcomed Hinchey to the race in a statement. The 46th District includes parts of Albany, Schenectady and Ulster Counties, and all of Montgomery and Greene Counties.