Republican primary set for Thursday
By Jay Braman Jr.
The recent redistricting of New York State government has changed the local representation, and on Thursday there are two primary races to determine who will be on the ballot in November.
Longtime Republican Senator John Bonacic will no longer represent the region, as he is being redeployed in a new district.
Now the area will fall under the 51st Senate District, where Oneonta resident Senator James Seward, a Republican, is facing a challenge from James Blake, a businessman and political newcomer from up in Otsego County for the Republican Party endorsement.
Seward’s 51st Senate District is changing shape in January and will then include the towns of Shandaken in Ulster County and Middletown in Delaware County where Belleayre is located. The senator, who was first elected in 1986 and is up for re-election this year, said that he asked for a chance to view the premises and discuss the challenges currently facing the ski center.
Seward is not unfamiliar with Belleayre. Four years ago he called for a probe into what he described as unfair competition in the state’s outdoor recreation industry, pointing out that Belleayre was offering cut rate admission prices that nearby privately owned ski centers like Hunter and Windham Mountains could not match.
Seward’s current district formation includes Greene County, home to those two private ski centers. But come January, Hunter and Windham will no longer be within the 51st District’s borders.
The senator, seeking a 14th term, describes himself as a strong supporter of financial underdogs like local fire departments, libraries and low-wealth school districts.
Blake, who is a member of Central New York’s Tea Party, wants to stimulate the economy by lowering property taxes and is a strong supporter of term limits.
In a prepared statement, Blake said his candidacy is about challenging what he calls “the good ole boy system in Albany.”
“People in our region should be proactive and seize opportunities when available, but it is wrong to rely on state taxpayers to provide funding for opportunities,” he said. “With the right leadership, we can build ourselves from the ground up.”
Reasons for running
Blake announced his candidacy in May at a Tea Party Rally in Oneonta, where he lamented the decay of farms in the region.
“That’s why I’m running,” he said.
In the State Assembly, the 101st Assembly District has changed as well. Come January, longtime Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, who is from Kingston, will no longer represent the region as Kingston is no longer within the 101st. The new 101st borders have created an odd, strip district that runs all the way from Utica in Onieda County down to Walden in Orange County and includes Andes, Delhi and Bovina in Delaware County and Denning and Hardenburgh in Ulster County.
Thursdays Primary is for the Republican endorsement in the assembly race.
Vying for that nomination are current 105th District State Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, from the Onieda County Town of New Hartford, and Brian Maher, the mayor of the Village of Walden in Orange County.
Tenny, who this year was given the award for most conservative member of the New York State legislature by the State’s Conservative Party, is an attorney, businesswoman and advocate for the people of Central New York. She is currently co-owner and legal counsel to Mid-York Press, Inc., a commercial printing and manufacturing firm started by her grandfather in 1946. Mid-York Press employs nearly 80 people in the Chenango County community of Sherburne. Tenny also maintains an active private law practice in Clinton.
Toured by bike
Maher, who toured the entire 101st District by bicycle over a six-day period in May, was elected mayor of the Village of Walden in 2009 when he was 23 years old. Now, serving in his second term, Maher claims a proven record of balanced growth, holding the line on taxes and a strong economic plan.
Maher’s executive background, coupled with his years in the public and private sector, has allowed him to put together a strategic plan for economic development which, if he wins the primary, he looks forward to unveiling on his road to the New York State Legislature.
Polling places for Middletown are the Arkville Fire Hall, the Fleischmanns Fire Hall and the Purcell Center in Margaretville. In Andes, you can cast your ballot at either the Town Court House or the Rod & Gun Club, and in Roxbury, it’s either the Fire Hall or the Civic Center in Grand Gorge. Polling hours are from noon until nine in the evening.