If you Google-Image Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a photo of him sitting in his seat in the Assembly chamber or at his desk in front of a wall covered with diplomas and awards.
That’s because he’s the kind of state representative who thinks he can be most effective serving the citizens of the 111th Assembly District not by pushing around papers, but by being out in the field, listening to people’s concerns directly so he can figure out how to help them.
He’ll be the assemblyman you see at a local town board meeting after a bunch of constituents call him about the condition of their road. He’ll be the one meeting with the parents of a disabled child to figure out a way the state can help them cope with their medical bills.
He’ll be the representative who goes to an elderly couple’s home in the middle of the night when their propane tank runs out of fuel, then goes to the capitol the next day seeking emergency legislation to get their tanks filled.
During his three terms in office, he’s waged a personal fight to get services for families of autistic children. He’s pushed for money to support local parks and for state investment in neighborhoods.
He’s an advocate for funding for roads and bridge upgrades, particularly in poor, aging cities in his district, and he’s fought for historic preservation funding and farmland preservation in the rural areas of his district.
Santabarbara’s Republican opponent, Brian McGarry — a Schenectady County legislator, former teacher and professional photographer from Rotterdam— is seeking to join the loyal opposition in the Democrat-controlled Assembly on a platform of reducing the role of government, cutting red tape and reducing mandated costs passed onto counties, such as Medicaid. All are worthy goals.
But when it comes to constituent service and effectiveness, voters in the 111th Assembly District already have great representation.
They would be wise to keep it.