Ashby, Smyth discuss issues at forum
Mike Gwizdala reports for the Troy Record about the candidate forum the Rensselaer County League of Women Voters held with Republican Jake Ashby and Democrat Andrea Smyth Oct. 5 for the New York State Senate District 43 seat that covers parts of Rensselaer, Albany, and Washington counties. “I will definitely make sure that women’s rights and equal pay are a top priority for me,” Smyth, the Democrat, said. "In addition, I will make sure a fair share of state funding goes to upstate New York and that we are a priority once again in making sure that opportunity and economic opportunity are in every community in upstate New York.... Lastly, I will continue the hard work and accomplishments that I have achieved on behalf of women and children, in all types of housing, economic development, workforce development, health insurance and childcare arena." The Republican, Ashby, named different priorities. “The top three legislative goals that I would have is supporting legislation, getting it across the finish line, that’s going to reduce crime, which we are currently seeing a rapid uptick in and have over the last few years,” Ashby said. “Reduce the cost of living and the economic burden that we are seeing in New York state as well and to work together. I think division is among the things that ranks right up there with these other issues, that we need to demonstrate as leaders that we’re willing to work together to make these accomplishments, to bring our state back into the right direction.” Ashby is currently an Assemblyperson in the 107th District, and he crowed about one bill he helped pass. “One of the goals that I have is legislation that we were able to pass in the New York State Assembly unanimously, which was the Staff Sergeant Alex Jimenez legacy bill,” Ashby said. “I worked with my colleague Catalina Cruz, out of Queens. I met with the family of Staff Sergeant Jimenez and what this bill would do it would provide state resources to families who are serving in the military who have family members here who are undocumented. New York would be the first state in the country to provide such resources. It’s based off a federal program called parole in place.” Smyth names the lack of affordable housing as an issue impacting many. “So, I really believe that especially in the way that housing is being discussed, it’s a very New York-centric discussion. I will seek upstate bipartisan support to make sure that affordable housing is going to address the affordable housing issues of upstate,” Smyth said. “This could include, for example, reducing incentives for developers to clear-cut land, which is not environmentally friendly, and instead giving first-time homebuyers the opportunity to stop renovating older homes, stop using fossil fuels, and get a tax break that would’ve gone to top developers and have it go to the young homeowners so that they can not only contribute to environmentally sound homeowning but they can make sure it’s more affordable by having some tax breaks that would allow them not to have to pay for the improvements that would be required." The WGXC Newsroom has a link to the full debate. Read the full story in the Troy Record.