#Election #NYSAssembly #PhilSteck #ChrisCarey #JimFranco #SpotlightNews
One guy endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders and the other guy is a supporter of Pres. Donald Trump. One guy has a law degree from Harvard and the other is a retired cop. One guy is a Democrat and the other a Republican. Both guys live in Colonie, but their backgrounds and ideologies are polar opposites.
Assemblyman Phil Steck, D-Loudonville, is facing what many consider his first significant challenge since being elected represent the 110th District in 2012.
Chris Carey, was elected to the Colonie Town Board in 2015 and is a member of the Republican minority.
Carey was initially looking at a primary next month for the right to challenge Steck in November, but Niskayuna resident Dave Feiden dropped out. The district encompasses Schenectady, Niskayuna and Colonie.
Steck, who before being elected to the Assembly was an Albany County legislator, said he doesn’t run campaigns based on his opponent and instead touted his accomplishments of the past six years.
“We passed 38 bills in the last session and that includes legislation to protect whistle blowers, ensure fair elections and protect people from fundraising scams,” Steck said. “I am also active on the big picture issues like single payer health insurance and common sense gun control.”
Since passage of the SAFE Act, gun control has been a hot button topic in this state. But, Steck said, some things the Assembly has done includes prohibiting those convicted of domestic violence crimes from getting a firearm and allowing authorities to petition the courts to remove firearms should they become a danger to themselves or society. He also said he favors banning bump stocks, a part sold to modify a weapon to make it automatic and extending the waiting period and background checks.
Carey called the SAFE Act a joke.
“All it did was handcuff law abiding citizens and I question whether or not it has done more harm than good. I know if hasn’t help anything out as far as street crimes go or making out streets any safer,” he said. “The criminal are still getting guns and he law abiding citizens suffer with the red tape and bureaucracy.”
Steck also pointed to the money he brought home from the state such as $500,000 to upgrade the Colonie Fire and Police Training Facility, $1 million for the Colonie library and $1.5 million for improvements to Central Park in Schenectady.
Carey said he is already retired and would dedicate all his time to being a representative of the Assembly unlike, he said, Steck who still maintains a private law practice.
“I don’t feel our district is getting the attention it deserves in the state Assembly,” Carey said. “My work ethic is second to none and I will be in my seat every day from the beginning of session to the end. I am retired after 32 years with the Colonie Police Department, this will be my full time job. It will be my entire focus while at least part of Mr. Steck’s focus is on his private law practice.”
Carey also was a longtime volunteer with the Shaker Road Fire Department and was an EMT with West Albany Ambulance.
If elected, Carey said he would focus on state funding for armed School Resource Officers in all schools not just high schools and statewide economic development.
While both are enrolled in major parties, they do tend to stand independent too. Steck backed Sanders for president when the state Democrats went for Hillary Clinton, and he is backing Zephyr Teachout for attorney general while the majority of Democrats, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, are behind New York City Public Advocate Letitia James in the four-way primary.
“When I ran for this office, I was not the candidate of the party. I did not have the support of the party leaders or the outgoing assemblyman or the town supervisors or the Albany County chair or the Schenectady county chair,” Steck said. “It has given me, being the grassroots candidate in the Town of Colonie, a greater sensitivity to what my constituents are facing every day.”
Similarly, Carey seems to work well with the Democrats in Colonie and calls himself a grassroots candidate rather than a career politician, adding that he would favor term limits if elected.
“I think the biggest difference between the two of us is I’m a grassroots kind of guy,” he said. “I’ve always been in the trenches. I’ve never had anything handed to me. I’m more of a hands on guy. I’ve been in the field and I know what residents need. I don’t know whether he ever leaves his office or not.”
To Steck’s support of Teachout, he said the biggest drawback to her campaign, in his view, is her desire to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office.
“I don’t know of anyone who thinks that is a good idea. What is the next step? Open the borders and allow everyone to come in illegally?” he asked. “I don’t know how Phil Steck, or anyone, can support someone who supports that.”
As for law enforcement, Steck also pointed to legislation he spearheaded that allows family members to compel heroin addicts to start treatment, that allow hospitals to hold addicts and require insurance companies to pay for the stay and the drugs necessary to stabilize addicts doing through withdrawal. He too is the lead sponsor on a bill to take pensions away from public officials convicted of corruption.
He again reiterated his independence of the Democratic Party proper while Carey is getting support from the Republican Party.
“I am the only one in field who is independent of various power that be,” Steck said. “One of the difficulties is that committee chairs become too entrenched and it’s not just specific to corruption. I would favor term limits for committee chairs and the speaker of the Assembly.”
Carey said if elected he would not run for any more than three terms.