Continued progress or a change in direction are alternatives being offered by the candidates hoping to represent Saratoga and Washington counties in the 113th Assembly District.
Assemblyman Tony Jordan, R-Jackson, and Round Lake Trustee Carrier Woerner, a Democrat, are both focusing on reviving the economy for New York state and the approximately 91,000 registered voters in the district.
Jordan, an attorney, has served two terms in the Assembly and wants another one to build on recent successes, including the tax cap for municipalities and school districts, ethics reform and two balanced budgets that closed deficits of billion of dollars.
“Is it good enough? Absolutely not,” said Jordan. “Which is why I’m running again.”
His focus is keeping spending from exploding at the state level, easing burdens on businesses, like the Wage Theft Prevention Act, and preventing any tax increases. A major piece of legislation he is advancing would remove the ability of state agencies to impose massive tax increases or fees without approval from the state Legislature.
Woerner, who has 30 years of experience in the high-tech industry and has been elected village trustee three times, argued that the district needs a proactive representative and said she is dissatisfied with the status quo that Jordan has accepted.
If elected, Woerner has pledged to be a vocal advocate for businesses in the region, working across party lines and levels of government.
In particular, she is focused on exploring the district’s high-tech manufacturing capacity, which means building on the presence of GlobalFoundries in Malta. She would rally the state’s resources behind attracting businesses that could work in conjunction with GlobalFoundries and also help develop Luther Forest as a home to locally grown companies. This effort would include making sure the appropriate infrastructure, including transportation outlets, exist in this region.
“It is that [high-tech] ecosystem that is going to make the difference,” said Woerner.
Both candidates have highlighted the state’s regulatory climate and unfunded mandates as problems for the business community in the district.
Even though there are about 38,000 Republicans and 25,000 Democrats in the district, which greatly favors Jordan, the enrollment figures still give Woerner a chance. There are about 25,000 Independence or unregistered voters, who could be up for grabs, and about half the district is new to Jordan because of redistricting, so he doesn’t have name recognition.
The Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee believes in Woerner and has invested more than $40,000 in the race as a result.
In a recent candidate forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Saratoga County, the two candidates argued over education spending. Jordan argued that he has worked to shift money upstate, highlighting changes in the distribution this year that benefited small and rural school districts. This effort hasn’t gone far enough, according to Woerner, who wants to further tweak the state funding formula for schools.
There is not a clear contrast between the two candidates on raising the minimum wage. Jordan has opposed previous measures because they would be costly to small businesses and Woerner only supports an increase that is tied to tax cuts for small businesses.
The candidates both opposed an increase of legislative pay, with Jordan being an advocate for cutting the legislative session and their pay in half.
When it comes to the state’s environmental impact, Woerner noted that more could be done to tap the Capital District Transportation Authority’s resources and Jordan noted that there are a wide variety of clean energy sources, like wind and water, that could be utilized better.
Both candidates have reiterated the importance of horse racing for the district, whether it is at the Saratoga Race Course or the Saratoga Casino & Raceway. Because of the economic importance of these two sites, Jordan has been cautious about embracing casino gambling in the state until more details are known and has opposed a vague amendment. If a casino is brought to the 113th Assembly District, Woerner has stressed the importance of ensuring the host community gets a portion of the revenues.