Montgomery County Town of Palatine supervisor Sara Niccoli has kicked off a campaign to unseat Republican George Amedore in New York’s 46th state Senate District. The announcement was made at Star Plaza.
The Guilderland campaign launch Saturday happened in a shopping plaza just up the road apiece from Amedore's construction company headquarters. Niccoli told a gathering of supporters she'd been considering a run since January and toured the five-county district before deciding to throw her hat in the ring. "I'm formally announcing my candidacy... [cheers]"
Democratic luminaries were on hand to give Niccoli a push: among them Albany-area State Senator Neil Breslin: "She has the intelligence, the background, head of the labor-relation coalition, a farmer, a town supervisor, a wife and a mother, and as tough as nails when she has to be. She, to me, is the perfect candidate."
Breslin went on to proclaim the coming election a "special" one, explaining Guilderland had been part of his own district until it was cut away when lines were re-drawn in the last round of redistricting. The added district was seen as tailor made for then-Assemblyman Amedore, who ending up losing Cecilia Tkaczyk, who served the first term in the 46th before losing the seat to Amedore in 2014.
Like Tkaczyk, Niccoli is a sheep farmer. The Albany High grad calls this year's Senate contest "winnable;" vowing to lock horns with Amedore when it comes to education, which she cites among the most pressing issues in the district. "In New York state we have a $9,000 per student difference between the wealthiest school districts and the poorest school districts. That $9,000 per student is things like art and technology and everything that will make a child competitive as they grow up and go into careers. And it's just not right that the children of the 46th district don't have the same opportunities as children in other places of New York."
Congressman Paul Tonko beamed as he told the crowd he's worked with Niccoli, who, as director of the labor-religion coalition, has been a powerful force. "She's a foundation for economic justice. She's an individual who won't stop. Her integrity is beyond belief. Her passion for people, to get things done for people, is powerful."
Tonko painted Niccoli as a champion of middle income people, a strong defender of workers, and one who will fight for “comfortable” retirement packages. "She understands! She understands the retired worker needs to have the comfort and security of sound benefits and a good retirement package."
He also said Niccoli is on the right side of the issues of infrastructure, clean drinking water and property taxes.
But it could be an uphill climb against the incumbent Amedore, who said in an emailed response, "With less than two weeks to go until the state budget deadline, I am focused on making New York a more affordable place to live and work, as well as ensuring the 46th district gets its fair share of resources to properly fund our schools, invest in our crumbling infrastructure, and create jobs and economic opportunity within every community.”
Amedore continued: “Election season is still a long way off and with so many important issues before the Legislature, I will continue to concentrate on best representing the residents of the 46th Senate district, not on politics."
Niccoli closed with a message of unity. "Remember, that while our differences make for better TV ratings, we are much more alike than we are different. Conservative or Liberal, Democrat or Republican, labels are beside the point. I love my neighbor, and I refuse to let anything divide us, when I know that we fundamentally want the same things."