Michele Draves of Glenville plans to go toe-to-toe with Assemblyman Jim Tedisco this fall in her first run for state office, and she came out of the gate Thursday challenging the veteran lawmaker.
“Assemblyman Tedisco has been my representative since I was 9 years old and in that time has accomplished absolutely nothing,” the Glenville resident said Thursday afternoon before her official announcement at the Halfmoon Diner.
After volunteering for other people’s campaigns, Draves saw that no Democrat was planning to take on Tedisco, a Republican, so she decided to do so herself.
“I decided if I want to see change, I’m going to have to step up to the plate,” she said.
The newly redrawn 112th Assembly District includes the towns of Ballston, Charlton, Clifton Park, Galway, Glenville, Greenfield, Halfmoon, Milton and Providence.
Tedisco rejects Draves’ contention that he hasn’t done anything in 29 years in office and lists his accomplishments: authoring the recent property tax cap bill; saving taxpayers $50 million a year because he pushed for the Assembly to abandon use of paper documents and go digital; coming up with the idea to sell used state resources online rather than letting them rot in a warehouse; and his most often-cited accomplishment, maneuvering the passage of Buster’s Law, which established a felony-level animal cruelty charge. He was formerly the Assembly minority leader, the most powerful Republican in the chamber.
“I think the people are a little bit tired of throwing mud,” Tedisco said, referring to Draves’ tone.
Draves is vice chairwoman of the Scotia-Glenville Democratic Committee and has been endorsed by the Saratoga and Schenectady county Democratic committees.
She ran for Glenville town clerk last year and lost. She has worked in public relations, marketing and nonprofit management, most recently for the United Way of the Greater Capital Region as the AFL-CIO community services liaison.
She attended the National Labor College and Schenectady County Community College.
Draves, 39, is married to Ron Draves and has twin sons who are preschoolers, Vincent and Benjamin.
She is running on a platform of quality public education, equality and women’s rights.
“Those are things that I feel that looking at [Tedisco’s] voting record he has actually voted to deny,” Draves said, citing Tedisco’s vote against raising the minimum wage and against legalizing same-sex marriage.
Tedisco said he believes in traditional marriage. The minimum wage increase would have been a mandate for small businesses that would have harmed them as they struggle to recover from the recession, he said: “It’s a job eliminator; it’s not a job creator at this time.”