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Rivalry for state senate primary begins in Bethlehem

One Delmar Democrat thinks it time for a new hometown senator to represent Albany County in the New York Senate.

Political newcomer Charlie Voelker is challenging six-term incumbent Sen. Neil Breslin, D-Delmar, for his seat, which encompasses the entire county. Although technically his hometown is on Long Island, Voelker knows just how tough his race will be to take on the Breslin Family after living in Delmar for nearly a decade and in Albany for 25 years before that.

He says he's up to the task and that it's time to take the family out of family politics when it comes to the business of state and county government.

The decision to run stemmed from needing to put some regular people back in government, Voelker said. "I have the utmost respect for the Breslin's and their community service but I also believe you have to have some variety."

Referring to Breslin's two brothers, Albany County Executive Micahel Breslin and Albany County Judge Thomas Breslin, Voelker said, "I believe I can be a more objective person in the state senate when it comes to Albany County decisions. Sometimes it seems like family decisions are being made."

Running on a campaign of "Demand More Albany," Voelker said he plans to be the 46th District's fulltime senator if he is elected in the fall.

"I believe we deserve a full-time state senator," Voelker said. "Sen. Breslin works for a law firm and that's fine but I plan to make it my main priority."

Being in corporate development for the last 25 years, Voelker said New York needs to raise more revenues without turning to taxes.

Quickly pointing out that he's "not a pie-in-the-sky optimist," Voelker said he knows the solutions won't happen over night.

"Our number one problem in New York State is our tax base," Voelker said, adding that when it comes to financial needs "we throw a tax at it and think it will go away."

Voelker proposes having more private-public partnerships in order to increase state revenues.

Living and working with the residents of Albany County Voelker said he is running as "an average guy" who knows the issues facing the constituents of the district.

"I'm not knocking Sen. Breslin on this but we need to have more people who know it's like to have to choice between buying groceries and putting gas in their car," Voelker said. "People are having to make these decisions."

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