102nd ASSEMBLY DISTRICT — A third candidate, an independent, has emerged in the special election being held next month to fill the vacant seat for the 102nd Assembly District.
Wesley D. Laraway of Middleburgh has been certified to run on the Best Choice party line in the April 24, election, taking on major party candidates who each have multiple ballot lines.
Laraway, 49, has taught history at Middleburgh High School for nearly 30 years and continues to do so, though he said he would retire from teaching if elected. He is also known for his animal rescue work and is director of the New York Wildlife Rescue Center and Northeast Llama Rescue, both of which operate from his farm.
“I think we’re going to win this; I honestly do,” Laraway said on Friday. “People are sick of politics as usual.”
He said he was running as an independent because, “I didn’t think we had a lot of choice in candidates. People are looking for a change.”
The Assembly seat representing all of Schoharie and Greene counties, as well as portions of several other counties, has been vacant since former Assemblyman Peter Lopez, R-Schoharie, resigned in September after being named regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Also in the race are Republican Chris Tague, of Schoharie, and Democrat Aidan S. O’Connor Jr., of Durham in Greene County.
Tague, the Schoharie County Republican chairman and Schoharie town supervisor, also has the Conservative, Independence and Reform parties ballot lines, while O’Connor is also endorsed by the Working Families and Women’s Equality parties.
Laraway said his issues include advocating for term limits, for improving rural access to technology like broadband, and right-to-farm laws.
“If it’s good for farmers, I vote for it. If it’s bad for farmers, I vote against,” he said.
As an educator, he said he thinks more and better options are needed for local high school graduates who aren’t college-bound.
He also favors campaign spending reform. He said he has so far spent only about $1,000, and elections are too expensive.
“It shouldn’t cost $50,000 or $100,000 to run an Assembly campaign,” he said.
In addition to Schoharie and Greene counties, the Assembly district includes Rensselaerville, Westerlo and Coeymans in Albany County, and parts of Otsego, Delaware, Ulster and Columbia counties. The Republican Party has an enrollment advantage, with 30,762 Republicans to 24,693 Democrats as of last November, according to the state Board of Elections.
Reach Daily Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.
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