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November 2, 2012

New district maps shape Assembly races

By Richard Whitby
The Daily Star

---- — Voters will choose a new New York State Assembly on Tuesday, but the recently redrawn district map may mean that some won’t necessarily see familiar names when casting their ballots.

Otsego and Delaware counties are largely broken into three districts, all of which extend beyond the two counties. The 101st district, for example, spans six counties and bisects Otsego and Delaware, a sinuous district that’s more than 120 miles from end to end, but is only five miles wide in places. In that district, Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, a Republican, is being challenged by Daniel Carter, the Herkimer County Democratic Party chairman.

In the 121st District, longtime Democratic Assemblyman Bill Magee is facing a challenge from Internet marketing entrepreneur Levi Spires.

The 102nd* District features a race between incumbent Republican Pete Lopez and Democratic challenger Jimmy Miller, a former Albany police officer and spokesman for the Albany Police Department.

Here are the districts and the candidates:

Assembly District 121

Magee, from Nelson, has served 22 years in the Assembly and is chairman of the Agriculture Committee. In representing a largely rural district, where the most-populous city is Oneonta at 14,000, he has sponsored or helped to pass legislation on behalf of farmers and other agricultural interests. Most recently, he authored to allow farms to grow, brew and sell locally made beer.

Before winning election to the Assembly in 1990, Magee represented Nelson on the Madison County Board of Supervisors for 19 years. In addition to agriculture, Magee has been a supporter of higher education and volunteer fire departments.

His Republican opponent, Levi Spires of Cazenovia, is a 12-year Air Force veteran who founded and runs an Internet marketing company. He strongly advocates cutting taxes and reducing government regulation. He opposes state aid to school districts and calls for reforming Medicaid, state pensions, public assistance, child welfare, preschool and special education, early intervention, indigent defense, probation and youth detention. He also advocates improving cell phone and broadband Internet access in the district. Spires has made Magee’s age, 73, an issue. Spires is 38.

Magee has countered that as a member of the majority party in the Assembly, he is able to do more for his constituents.

Assembly District 10 1

Two residents from the far northern reaches of the district are running for the seat, Tenney is from New Hartford in Oneida County and Carter lives in Little Falls, Herkimer County. Tenney is completing her first term in the Assembly, representing the old 115th District.

She’s also a lawyer, radio-show host and business owner, and is the daughter of former state Supreme Court Justice John R. Tenney. She has received a 100 percent rating from the National Rifle Association and from the New York State Right-to-Life Committee.

She has said that tax cuts would stimulate growth and supports rolling back government regulations. Tenney has also said she’s not convinced of the safety of current hydrofracking methods. Carter graduated from East Springfield High School in Otsego County and works as a machinist for Feldmeier Equipment in Little Falls.

He served two terms as a Little Falls alderman and one term as a Herkimer County legislator. He supports the statewide ban on hydrofracking and a moratorium on local tax increases. He has said the electric rates could be reduced if the New York State Power Authority bought stock in National Grid.

He also advocates reining in monopolies and consolidating services, such as fire, law-enforcement and public works.

Assembly District 102

Lopez, a Schoharie resident, has represented the district for six years. Before that, he was a Schoharie town councilman and a member of the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors. His Democratic challenger is Jimmy Miller, a former Albany policeman and spokesman for the department. This is his first bid for elected office. Lopez travels the district extensively. He has said that he covers more than 1,000 miles a week around the district and works 16 to 18 hours a day on district issues. He supports environmental protection, supports business incentives and has attempted to build bipartisan cooperation in the Assembly.

Miller, a native of Greene County, has argued Lopez hasn’t done enough to promote development in the district. Miller’s family owned the Pickwick Lodge in Round Top, and he supports giving communities the right to allow casino gambling within their jurisdictions. Lopez counters that business incentives would be a better way to go.

Miller supports an increase in the minimum wage and raising aid levels for rural school districts. He also supports the moratorium on hydrofracking.

Lopez says that the state doesn’t need hydrofracking, but that he understands how it would help the economies in some locales.

Other Assembly races

Assemblyman Clifford Crouch, R-Guilford, is running unopposed in the 122nd Assembly District, which covers western Delaware County, the southwestern corner of Otsego County and southern Chenango County. Assemblyman Gary Finch, R-Springport, is running unopposed in the 126th District, which includes northern Chenango County.


*Editor's note: The number of this district was corrected at 9:15 a.m. Nov. 5.