Democrat Mark Blanchfield, a seven-year city councilman, will officially announce his candidacy today for the 105th Assembly District seat held since last summer by GOP incumbent George Amedore during four appearances in Schenectady and Montgomery counties.
Blanchfield, 41, plans to focus his campaign on controlling taxes and creating jobs.
Amedore, 39, is seeking re-election to a full two-year term of the seat vacated last spring by longtime Assemblyman Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam.
An attorney with Hiscock and Barclay in Albany, Blanchfield said he wants to ensure each community in the 105th District receives individualized attention, “so that we don’t follow a one-size-fits-all policy toward economic growth.”
He called the district one of the most economically challenged in the state and one with the highest number of senior citizens, requiring additional resources from Albany. The district consists of all of Montgomery County and Rotterdam, Duanesburg, Princetown and portions of the city of Schenectady in Schenectady County,
He said as a city councilman, “we made a lot of forward progress and I would like to make sure we continue our forward progress and continue our program to think outside of the box.”
Blanchfield has scheduled announcements at City Hall in Schenectady at 1 p.m.; at the Mabee Farm in Rotterdam Junction at 2 p.m.; at Amsterdam City Hall at 3:30 p.m.; and at Riverfront Park in Canajoharie at 5 p.m. He is expected to receive the endorsement today of the Schenectady County Democratic Committee. He already has the endorsements of the city of Schenectady Democratic Committee and the Montgomery County Democratic Committee.
Meanwhile, Amedore is scheduled to join state Assembly Republican Leader James Tedisco and several area municipal leaders and a law enforcement representative on the steps of Schenectady City Hall today to promote legislation that would increase penalties in the criminal deaths and injuries of children. This follows last week’s shooting death of a 10-year-old in Albany.
Blanchfield was re-elected to the Common Council in 2005, the top vote-getter among 10 candidates seeking three open seats. He served three one-year terms as council president between 2005 and 2007.
He and his wife, Beatrice Tsao, have a 10-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter.
focus on bills
Amedore said he will formally announce for re-election when the current legislative session in Albany ends this month. He and his wife, Joelle, have three children, ages 17, 15 and 12.
“We have important legislation we have been debating on,” Amedore said.
Amedore said he is seeking office again to work toward changes in how state government works. “I have been helping to make some progress. As I said before, change is coming to Albany and that change isn’t going to take place overnight. I need to continue to focus on what I believe in and what the 105th needs desperately.”
The district needs lower taxes and more jobs, Amedore said. And “we need to get people in Albany who are outside the political spectrum. We do not need more politicians in Albany, which I am not, because of the waste there. It’s dysfunction and it’s out-of-control spending.”
Amedore, who is vice president of Amedore Homes, ran as an Albany outsider in his first bid for elected office. He faced Democrat Ed Kosiur, a former Schenectady County legislator and former Schenectady councilman.
Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district, and party officials believed Kosiur would handily win the seat. However, he stumbled almost immediately by supporting legislation that placed residency restrictions on sex offenders. Many people believed the legislation, sponsored by majority Democrats in the Schenectady County Legislature, would force sex offenders out of the Democrat-controlled city of Schenectady and into outlying communities.
Although Kosiur campaigned vigorously, he lost by nearly 3,000 votes. Amedore campaigned aggressively as well, and he also benefitted from strong name recognition in Montgomery County, where he has built homes and has family, and from a strong backlash against the sex offender legislation.
Kosiur had little name recognition outside of the city of Schenectady. This time around, Democrats picked a candidate with a base in Montgomery County. Blanchfield said he has family in Amsterdam and friends and relatives scattered throughout the county. His father grew up in Amsterdam and his grandfather, James Blanchfield, was circulation manager of the Amsterdam Evening Recorder newspaper for 40 years.
Blanchfield said he also has support of Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane and Montgomery County Treasurer Shawn Bowerman, both Democrats.
Blanchfield plans to knock on doors and meet people in Montgomery County, to further increase his name recognition.
Schenectady County Democratic Committee Chairman Brian Quail said Blanchfield will make an outstanding assemblyman. “He understands the pressures local governments and people face and that is an important perspective to have because of the trickle down mandates from Albany, which George Amedore has done nothing to stop.”
Quail said Blanchfield “understands the importance of high taxes, of growing the economy, of creating job, of protecting health care and of controlling crime.”
Blanchfield’s campaign will compare how Schenectady has “gotten better under Mark and how Albany has not gotten better under Amedore,” Quail said.
“Amedore has been a creature of the status quo since his leather shoes have hit the tiles of the Capitol,” Quail said.
Tom Buchanan, chairman of the Schenectady County Republican Committee, cast Blanchfield’s record on the Common Council in a different light.
“I am surprised they are going with a liberal Democrat who has done nothing but raise taxes during his entire tenure in office,” Buchanan said.
“The city of Schenectady is one of the highest-taxed municipalities in the Capital Region and Mark Blanchfield is part of the reason,” Buchanan said.
Republicans will “hammer Blanchfield on quality-of-life issues: Crime and taxes are higher since Blanchfield took office,” Buchanan said. With Amedore, “we get a fresh face with new ideas. He is an individual from a private sector background with a unique perspective.”