TO HEAR THE CANDIDATES recite their campaign positions in the race for state Senate in the 43rd District, you might think there is not much that separates them. Their positions touch on all the hot issues for Upstate New Yorkers, like mandate relief–they’re for it, fracking–they’re skeptical, taxes–they want to lower them. You get the idea.
Two women are running for the seat in this district that takes in all of Columbia County plus most of Rensselaer and some populous parts of Saratoga counties and a corner of rural Washington County: Republican Kathy Marchione and Democrat Robin Andrews. Both are hardworking public servants. Ms. Marchione has been county clerk of Saratoga County for 14 years and was elected to town offices for years before that, including town supervisor. Ms. Andrews’ government resume is a little shorter, but she served as a village trustee in Philmont before being elected Claverack town supervisor.
One factor in their careers that does make a difference is Ms. Andrews’ experience in private business. Running government like a business, as many business people who aspire to public office promise, is a foolish proposal, and not something Ms. Andrews proposes. But having looked at the world as someone paid to plan for the success of large corporations as well as an elected official dealing with the day-to-day management of a town gives Ms. Andrews perspectives in business or government alone cannot provide. We need people like Ms. Andrews weighing state laws and policies.
There’s also a fairness issue that has remained in the background in this race but which made national news just weeks ago, when Ms. Marchione defeated incumbent Senator Roy McDonald in the GOP primary. Like Ms. Marchione, Mr. McDonald is a strong fiscal conservative, but Mr. McDonald changed his position on a social issue and voted to support the legalization of same-sex marriage, now the law in this state. Ms. Marchione leveraged the ire of social conservatives at his vote to win the Republican nomination fair and square. But the basis of her primary campaign sends a chilling message to voters about her lack of concern for the right of every New York State citizen to be treated equally.
Lastly, it would be refreshing for a change to have state senator who actually lives in Columbia County. This might not be the best reason to pick a candidate, and certainly senators have who haven’t lived here have ably represented county interests in the past. But residency is worth considering on the list of positive attributes Ms. Andrews would bring to the job.
Her able leadership in Claverack has shown that she can get results that work for her constituents. She has proved she can effectively work across party lines with those who share that goal. On November 6, please vote for Robin Andrews for state Senate.