Cousin to primary Barrett
Roger Hannigan Gilson reports in the Times Union that Claire Cousin has announced a primary challenge to Assemblyperson Didi Barrett during a protest May 3 in the hallway outside Barrett’s Poughkeepsie office. Cousin is currently Hudson’s 1st Ward on the Columbia County Board of Supervisors and is the director of the Albany Free School, and Barrett represents parts of Columbia and Dutchess counties in the state Assembly. Cousin is also program manager of the Hudson-Catskill Housing Coalition, the vice chair of the Hudson Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners, and on the board of the nonprofit Re-Entry Columbia, that assists incarcerated people as they leave prison. Progressives have complained about several more conservative positions Barrett has taken recently, especially around affordable housing issues, and Cousin calls her, “a conservative Democrat who’s taking up room in the state Assembly.” Last September, current Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson said on WGXC that he is considering a primary campaign against Barrett. “I’m not ruling out running for Assembly,” Johnson said on September 15. “It’s not out of the question. I think, career-wise, that would be the next step.” Barrett did not directly comment on the Cousin announcement, but her staff sent a statement about the current legislative session, saying, “We successfully advocated for much-needed relief for ratepayers and utility customers, and funding to help New Yorkers make energy-efficient home improvements.... We included thoughtful language to electrify new construction across the state while allowing exemptions for structures and sectors that are difficult, if not impossible, to fully electrify." The primary election for Barrett would be in 2024. Read more about this story in the Times Union.