Candidates in the 43rd square off

Brian Premo, 48, a criminal defense and personal injury attorney, is running on a platform of reform. Though he has never held an elected office, he feels that a radical change is needed to chart the course in Albany.

"I believe strongly that the lack of past public office holding may be an asset for an otherwise qualified candidate to become an effective senator today. Politics often can cause office-holders to suffer from myopic vision and to buckle to the influences of special interests (although there certainly are officials who manage to keep their vision of public service clear).

Premo said the Legislature will be better off without Bruno.

"I hope that with Sen. Bruno's retirement, the Legislature will now enact true ethics reform. One of the most important issues over which I have disagreed with Mr. Bruno is the need for transparency in the budget and legislative process.

When asked why residents of the 43rd should vote for him, Premo responded, "I have fought for people's rights my entire professional career of over 23 years. From the time I was an assistant district attorney to today in my private practice, I have been a strong advocate of people's rights and the rule of law. As special interests continue to dominate our government, isn't it time to elect someone in the 43rd Senate District with a proven track record of standing up to the special interests of others, especially when they are contrary to the public good?"

Senate grade: D

Choice for president: Barack Obama

Religious affiliation: Did not respond.

Campaign workers: Approximately 20

Is experience needed to run for this office?: No

Salary: Did not respond.

Mike Russo,

D-Saratoga Springs

"I believe that one of the things most lacking in our representative government is the perspective of 'regular people.' While I have nothing against lawyers or career politicians, I think that the lack of others' perspectives has led to dysfunction. The problem is that average people don't have the necessary experience or connections to run an effective campaign or be a successful lawmaker. I am lucky enough to have that experience.

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