James Whalen said he hopes to bring experience and leadership to the position if he were to make it to the New York State Assembly seat. Whalen, of Rexford, is an attorney who actively served in the Judge Advocate General Corp as a captain, and now works as compliance officer for Pioneer Bank.
He acknowledged the difficulty of defeating incumbents, but noted people are concerned about the "broken" government at the state and national level.
"I feel like I really have some ideas. I feel like I really have some experience," he said. "I don't know any other way than to be a leader."
As compliance officer, Whalen works toward making sure the bank follows governmental regulations and he said the financial and legal experience he gained will help him serve the district.
He said he will work toward reducing spending and cutting taxes and will be sensitive to the effects laws have on the private sector.
"No one's paying attention to that," he said, noting people generally consider the private sector as the "enemy" or strictly a revenue source.
Whalen said he does not know Reilly personally, but is planning a positive campaign as well.
Jennifer Whalen said her priorities are keeping jobs in the area and getting the state's economy back on track. In December she criticized Reilly for supporting the budget proposal on the table. Also an attorney, she said she will fight for "families and seniors," and work toward positive change.