By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
Republican Richard Amedure is making his bid to replace longtime state Sen. Neil Breslin in the newly formed 46th State Senate District.
Amedure was raised in Greene County and in 2020 retired from the New York State Police.
“I grew up in Catskill, New York, down in the Leeds area,” Amedure said. “I actually went to school in a one-room schoolhouse in Leeds. People say you don’t look old enough, but we didn’t have centralized schools in Catskill until ’72.”
Amedure attended Catskill High School and then Columbia-Greene Community College for two years before getting a union job as a carpenter and later on at IBM.
“It was a great job in the mid ‘80s until the plant closed down, so I needed another plan,” he said. “I went into the military to get some college money to finish up my engineering degree and went overseas for two years.”
Amedure served in the First Infantry Division and when he left the armed forces, he got a job with the state police, where he served largely in Greenville for 30 years.
“It was about community policing and it was about service to your neighbors,” he said.
After former state Sen. George Amedore — no relation — retired from the Senate, Amedure made an unsuccessful bid in a close race against now-state Sen. Michelle Hinchey, a Democrat, in 2020.
Amedure said he sees high crime rates as one of the top issues in the election, particularly bail reform and other changes that have been enacted in recent years. He recalled that as a state trooper, he knew when a suspect accused of a dangerous crime was arrested, police could be assured the person would continue to be detained. That changed with the new state laws.
“When cashless bail and discovery reform started, we knew it was going to be a nightmare in the union. I tried to tell everybody last time that we were going to have problems with this and they were like, ‘Oh, you are exaggerating, it’s not going to be nearly as bad as you think it is,’” he said. “Well, two years on, it’s worse. New York City is a disaster — it’s going back to the early ‘90s, late ‘80s, when the crack epidemic and everything made it very difficult in New York City. We’ve gone backwards, for the first time in history.”
He put the blame on Democratic elected officials.
“It’s all because of one-party rule from New York City,” he said. “They want to end qualified immunity for police officers, which is the most ridiculous thing,” Amedure said. “If a police officer effects an arrest and somebody gets injured in that arrest, qualified immunity doctrine says that they will get protection of the attorney general, barring that they did anything extreme and excessive.”
Instead, he would like to see elected officials held accountable in a similar manner.
“If qualified immunity is going to be lifted, it should be lifted from the politicians,” Amedure said. “If you make a law, such as cashless bail, that costs people their lives, you should be held accountable. The problem is, nobody is holding them accountable right now.”
The economy is another top issue, and some of the current problems are related to the COVID-19 pandemic and how it was handled, he said.
“The big problem is that you incentivized people to stay home and not go to work. And then, with the policies that they put in place, giving everybody money,” he said, referring to COVID relief payments. “It was absolutely ridiculous — it was pandering, and that’s what we can’t have. We need government to work for you, we don’t need you to be dependent on government.”
To stimulate the economy, Amedure wants to help farmers and the agricultural industry by “getting out of their way.”
“The best thing you can do for farmers in the state of New York right now is to get the state of New York out of the farmers’ pockets,” he said. “They just lowered the number of hours where [farmers] have to pay overtime, so it’s going down to 40 hours.”
At a recent roundtable discussion Amedure attended, farmers told him changes like the recent decision on overtime hours by the state’s Farm Laborers Wage Board, and others, will hurt the farming industry, he said.
“They said in 10 years, we don’t see dairy left in this state,” Amedure said. “We are competing with Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut — New York is the biggest market in the country and our farmers are facing a major disadvantage. If we would get New York state government off of their backs and out of their way, our farmers will be successful.”
Inflation and high prices for supplies, as well as diesel fuel, also hurt upstate farmers, he said.
“We need to stop this punishing of rural people, and that’s what this government has done because it’s one-party rule from New York City and they have no understanding of how upstate works,” Amedure said.
With lack of broadband access a problem for many homes and businesses in the district, Amedure said money has been dedicated to the problem, but it was mishandled.
“The Republicans, when they ran the Senate in the mid-teens, they approved a billion dollars for infrastructure improvement for broadband programs,” he said. “The first thing the Dems did when they took over was to tax that — a 25% tax on all of that. So what did they do? They took your buying power of a billion dollars and made it $750 million because everything you did was going to be taxed.”
Another issue in the national spotlight is abortion and reproductive rights. Amedure said abortion is not threatened in New York state. He does take issue with late-term abortions, he said.
“The Republicans, when they ran the Senate, they had the Women’s Bill of Rights, and it was 10 points — they agreed with nine of the points,” he said. “The 10th point was third-trimester abortions — late-term abortions — and the Republicans said they will give them first- and second-trimester abortions, life of the mother, all of that stuff. The Democrats wouldn’t agree to it. The Democrats wanted third-term abortions and that was their sticking point.”
Many European countries cap abortion rights at 15 weeks of gestation, he added.
“New York state has the most liberal abortion laws in the country, other than California,” Amedure said. “Fifteen weeks is the limit in most other countries in the world. Most of Europe it’s 15 weeks where they limit abortions. I had a granddaughter 17 days ago. Well, 17 days and an hour ago, she could have been aborted. And she’s a perfect, healthy little baby. Is that what the people in New York want? I don’t think so.”
Watch the full interview with Republican candidate Richard Amedure, running for election in the 46th State Senate District, on TheUpstater.com.
Election Day will be Nov. 8.