Posted at: 09/07/2012 12:04 AM
| Updated at: 09/07/2012 9:53 AM
By: Dan Levy
ALBANY - It's one of the most highly contested -- and congested -- political races in the Capital Region. Seven candidates are vying to replace the retiring Jack McEneny in the 109th Assembly district. All of them took part in a candidate forum at Albany Law School Thursday night.
With seven candidates and a one-hour time frame, there was only time to ask each candidate four questions.
When asked about a vision for the Capital Region 10 years down the road, former Albany County Executive Jim Coyne sees an Olympic torch burning with venues up and down the Hudson Valley between Albany and Lake Placid.
"In Europe they do it all the time," Coyne said, referring to Olympic venues in one region that are sometimes hundreds of miles apart. "We have a 16,000 seat arena (the Times Union Center) and now you have all the economy getting a big, big boon all the way up the Northway and (people from) New York City coming up on Amtrak."
Albany County Legislator Christopher Higgins says he'd like to get to work building a livable and sustainable Capital Region economy.
"I think we should be focusing on specific policy issues, on taxes, our environmental policy and public safety," Higgins asserted.
Albany lawyer William McCarthy, Jr. believes his experience in both the public and private sector differentiates him from the other candidates.
"I currently work for the attorney general to safeguard taxpayer dollars," he pointed out. "In the private sector I've worked for businesses trying to keep jobs here."
Albany Common Councilmember Frank Commisso, Jr. says he'd rather be talking about property tax relief and the struggles of local governments. However, when asked if Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver should keep his leadership position in the wake of the Vito Lopez scandal, Commisso said he'd vote Silver out.
"For my opponents that are carrying water for the Assembly leadership, I think they need to take a look at the principle and ethical thing to do here," Commisso said.
Political newcomer Margarita Perez vows she'll make good use of her life experiences if she's elected.
"To me, I've always been a fighter," Perez said proudly. "Tell me I can't to something and watch out because I'm here to do what needs to be done."
Local businessman Ted Danz, the only Republican in the field, insists his independence is just what Albany needs.
"We have to look at an independent candidate who's not a politician," Danz said. "I have the experience to build. I can listen and make decisions and I want to get in there and I owe nobody nothing."
Former Albany School Board President Patricia Fahy has the endorsement of the the Capital Region's largest newspaper, the Times Union.
"It's been a lot of work over these last few months but I feel gratified that they recognized it, especially the emphasis on jobs, because I'm more known for my work on education," Fahy stated.
To find out more about any of these candidate you can log onto their websites. The primary is Thursday, Sept. 13.