Canestrari staffer to join field to replace Reilly in Assembly

Friday, March 23, 2012
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— Democratic Assembly staffer and Menands native Kevin Frazier will officially announce today his candidacy to succeed Bob Reilly in the Assembly district that will include Niskayuna, Colonie and part of Schenectady.

Frazier said the decision to run was born out of Reilly’s retirement announcement, at which tine Reilly endorsed his candidacy.

“The opportunity chose me in this instance,” Frazier said. “It is an opportunity that doesn’t come along very often to very many people, and I’m excited to serve.”

Frazier, 38, who still lives in Menands, is the youngest of five children and a father of three himself.

After graduating from Union College and selling industrial filtration equipment, he found his true calling in public service, as he worked in the Assembly on the Labor Committee and later in the office of then-Albany County Executive Michael Breslin. He then took the job he has today as director of communications for Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari, D-Cohoes.

Frazier said his deep community roots, sense of public service and experience in government make him qualified to serve in the Assembly. If elected, his focus would be on promoting safe communities, with strong schools and low taxes.

He said his knowledge of Colonie would serve him in Niskayuna and Schenectady, which he felt have similar interests. “They all share common values,” he said.

In backing Frazier, Reilly cited his integrity, experience in government and commitment to bipartisanship.

Because of redistricting, Reilly’s Assembly district now has a large Democratic voter enrollment advantage.

The race to succeed Reilly, who announced his retirement last week, is attracting several interested Democrats. Niskayuna town Supervisor Joe Landry and Albany County Legislator Tim Nichols, who is also Reilly’s chief of staff, have said they’re considering a run, and Albany County Legislator Phil Steck has officially announced his candidacy.

A primary date has not been set, but it will likely be in August.

Additionally, Republican Jennifer Whalen, who narrowly lost to Reilly in 2010, is considering a run and has created a campaign committee. In her last campaign, the margin of defeat was only about 500 votes, but the district included Clifton Park and Halfmoon, which gave it a Republican enrollment edge.

The new district has about 5,000 more Democrats than Republicans. There are also about 21,000 independent voters in the district.

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