Name: Chris Tague
Hometown and current residence: Schoharie
Party affiliation: Republican, Conservative, Independence
Political/professional background, accomplishments:
Background: Dairy farmer, 25+ years as a construction executive in the heavy highway construction industry, member of New York State Assembly, Chairman, Schoharie County Republican Committee, Chair of Associated Builders and Contractors organization and the Government Affairs Committee, Town Supervisor of Schoharie, Chairman, Schoharie County Young Republicans, Member, New York Republican State Committee Executive Committee, President and Captain of Schoharie Fire Department, President of Schoharie Little League, Board of Directors Schoharie ARC, Treasurer and Board of Directors, Schoharie Kiwanis, Chair of New York State Construction Materials Association Aggregates and Health and Safety Committee, President of Schoharie County Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers among various other member organizations.
Farm Bureau Circle of Friends Recipient
American Conservative Union Award for Conservative Excellence
Only legislator with 100% rating from the NY Business Council
Republican of the Year (Schoharie County Republican Committee)
Rising Star (NY State Republican Committee)
Star Chapter Farmer (Schoharie Valley FFA)
Sponsored/co-sponsored 356 bills in the State Assembly, including The Small Business Recovery Act. Sponsored A.7655, which would provide a state income tax exemption for volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers and legislation promoting healthcare in low population areas.
Hosted a multi-day farm tour where members of both the Assembly and the Senate on both sides of the aisle came to rural upstate New York and learned first-hand about some of the issues and concerns of the agricultural community.
Endorsed by organizations including New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association (NYSTPBA), Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), National Federation for Independent Business (NFIB). Unshackle Upstate, New York State Police Investigators Association (NYSPIA), and WBYN News.
Anything else about you:
Chris is the grandson of a World War II veteran who instilled hardworking values in him from a young age.
Chris currently resides in Schoharie and has lived there all his life. Chris attended Schoharie Central School, graduating in 1987. He played seasonal sports, was involved in the Key Club, was Student Council President, and a member of the Future Farmers of America. After graduation, Chris started his own successful dairy farm business in 1987, growing from 25 cows to 75 cows upon selling the business in 1992. Soon thereafter, Chris joined Cobleskill Stone Products and he fell in love with the hard work of the laborer position. He was quickly promoted to foreman then again promoted to supervise the maintenance shops and trucking division. He earned the title of Superintendent of the quarry, overseeing the entire operation. He became the General Manager. Now, Chris is our full-time Assemblyman, working to update our failing infrastructure, bring larger broadband access to the region, fight the heroin and opioid epidemic, and fight for our values in Albany. Chris and his wife Dana Buzon-Tague and have two children, Sierra and Drew who are pursuing graduate degrees and careers in Psychology Finance.
Why are you running?
I am running to defend the interests and people of upstate, especially rural-upstate, from the increasingly out-of-touch and unrepresentative policies enacted by radical downstate legislators. I want to restore accountability to state government and combat corruption in Albany and New York City that harms New Yorkers. I also want to make New York a place where small business owners are confident they can operate without the fear of excessive taxation and government intervention that has driven so many companies out of our state. We must put an end to the one-size-fits-all legislative process that currently dominates our state government.
What is the biggest issue facing the state, why, and how would you address it?
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the biggest issues facing the state were high taxes, regulations and mandates on both business and local governments, bail reform, and the failure of the Democrat Majorities in both the Senate and Assembly to come through with a real, substantive healthcare plan. I’ve fought to cut taxes and reduce regulations. I’ve sponsored legislation that directly addresses the healthcare concerns faced by New Yorkers, including incentivizing rural healthcare, providing tax relief for volunteer fire and ambulance workers and increasing the state’s investment in combatting the heroin and opioid epidemic.
Now, the biggest issue facing the state is COVID-19 recovery for businesses, local governments and, most importantly, the people. I will fight, as I have in the past, to promote economic growth by lowering taxes on struggling businesses and families, establish universal access to broadband infrastructure and eliminate the crippling mandates on local governments that prevent them from operating efficiently.
Specifically how would you suggest the state balance the budget and take care of local needs?
First and foremost, we need to curb wasteful spending pushed by downstate radicals and special interest groups. Policies that provide incentives to businesses and cut taxes for workers are also essential pieces to the puzzle that will broaden the tax base and increase revenue. Additionally, we owe it to the taxpayer to do a better job reviewing state agencies’ spending and efficiency. This means rooting out waste and eliminating redundancy. Ending unfunded mandates on our local governments and instituting the policies listed above will combat the extreme tax rates and economic hardships on our residents that have caused many families and businesses to leave New York.
With much of the power in the state in the hands of downstate Democrats, how will you be an effective representative for our region?
During my time in the Assembly we have been able to represent our constituencies by bringing to light the mismanagement and dysfunction caused by one-party rule in Albany. Downstate Democrats have enjoyed unified control of virtually facet of our state government and have failed to pass any meaningful piece of legislation for the working people of New York State. Before the pandemic, the state was already almost $7 billion in the hole thanks to their reckless and irresponsible spending habits. We are going to continue to stand up for upstate New Yorkers, our values and our way of life. I was elected because I represent the values of the overwhelming majority of the people in my district. During my tenure in the Assembly I have been able to secure funding for much-needed emergency services in Greene and Schoharie Counties, the New York State Thruway project on Exit 23 in Catskill, and funds for technology upgrades for school libraries in Catskill and Sharron Springs. I will continue to fight for the needs of our citizens by consistently pursuing grant programs for economic development and education in all 7 of the counties I represent.
What do you think of the powers given to Gov. Cuomo during the COVID pandemic?
In the beginning, we in the legislature determined the powers to be necessary because of the information contained in our briefing from New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker. That being said, Gov. Cuomo was given emergency powers in order to protect New Yorkers from the impacts of the public health crisis and has instead used them to exercise unilateral control over our entire government and lawmaking process. It is beyond time for him to resign those powers and reestablish checks and balances in our state government. Until he does, he is depriving the people of New York of the representative voices they deserve.
How would you go about meeting the state’s energy needs (should we expand nuclear, renewable and/or fossil fuel use?)
As former dairy farmer and an advocate of our rural and agricultural communities, I do not support projects or initiatives that use up and destroy productive farm lands. We have a responsibility to pursue the most efficient and cost-effective forms of energy for the people of New York. That means protecting the jobs of our existing energy providers as well as expanding our investment in clean natural gas and renewable energy sources. I have had the opportunity while in the Assembly to attend briefings from both the governor’s office and NYSERDA about offshore wind energy systems and have been interested and supportive of what they have been able to accomplish.
Anything you’d like to add?
I believe the high taxes and exorbitant spending championed by downstate lawmakers and special interest groups do not work for our small businesses and families. I’ll continue to fight to make the government smaller, smarter and more efficient so we can pass those savings on to hardworking taxpayers and get our economy moving again.