November 1, 2010

New York Senate, Assembly Representatives Seek Reelection

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State Senate

For Pam Mackesey (D) and Tom O’Mara (R), the two major-party candidates seeking the 53rd District seat in the New York State Senate, the unprecedented economic challenges faced by the state is the most important issue in Tuesday’s elections.

“It’s important for candidates and voters to stay focused on the overriding need for … fiscal reforms throughout government in New York,” said O’Mara, who currently represents the 137th Assembly District, encompassing Chemung and Schuyler counties.

For Mackesey, a former union organizer and current member of the Tompkins County Legislature, abortion, marriage equality and gas drilling are three issues beyond economic matters that voters should carefully consider when casting their ballots.

In contrast with her opponent, Mackesey said that she is pro-choice, pro-gay marriage and opposes the continuation of hydrofracking until the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation has assessed its impact.

However, despite major differences in other aspects of their platforms, both O’Mara and Mackesey pointed at the necessity of revitalizing the economy as a way of halting the exodus of graduates from the region’s universities.

“I can tell you that this region’s leaders … would like to see more and more of our local students stay in the area after they graduate,” O’Mara said. “[Student] energy, talent and enthusiasm would benefit local communities, but [we need to] recognize that it’s just not going to happen unless we can re-energize and revitalize the local economy.”

According to Mackesey, “working with different partnerships, including research institutions like Cornell and entrepreneurs, federal and state governments, and public and private sectors institutions, we can rebuild our economy with a focus on green jobs.”

State Assembly

Issues such as economic reform, gay-marriage and hydrofracking are also central in the competition for the New York State Assembly’s 125th District seat between incumbent Barbara Lifton (D) and Thomas Reynolds (R), a retired chief financial officer who recently became involved in local politics.

For Reynolds, “the economy and jobs” are his primary focus. If elected, Reynold said he expects to combat the Tax Foundation’s recent classification of New York as “the worst state in which to do business.”

If reelected, Lifton — who has served as the assemblywoman of the 125th district, which includes all of Tompkins County, since 2002 — said she will protect democracy from ethical deficiencies by keeping corporate money from distorting the electoral process.

Reynolds said he offers a clear choice from his opponent, “who is an incumbent career politician seeking a fifth term.” According to him, Lifton has “helped bring New York to the brink of bankruptcy.”

“Students understand that the decisions that were made in Albany have limited their future options,” Reynolds said. “You cannot expect those who create a mess to reform it, change or clean it up.”

Lifton was not available for comment.

Original Author: Patricio Martinez