Five freshman state legislators tasted the fruits of their campaign victories Friday afternoon with swearing-in ceremonies at the Capitol.
Halfmoon Republican Kathy Marchione was sworn in as the next representative for the 43rd Senate District, where she succeeds Roy McDonald. Marchione beat the two-term incumbent in a Republican primary this fall and cruised to victory in a three-way general election. She will represent two towns in Washington County, parts of Saratoga and Rensselaer counties and all of Columbia County.
John Hickok, Marchione’s campaign manager and son, kicked off the ceremony by noting despite the challenging primary, the next two years will be the real work.
“After today, the hard work, doing the people’s business, starts,” he said from the floor of the Senate chamber, which was filled with Marchione’s friends, family and political allies. “But know that my mom will come here to these chambers every day with principles and convictions to make a difference.”
The swearing-in was performed by State Supreme Court Justice Ann Crowell, a Saratoga County Republican, who noted that it felt great to say “Senator-elect Marchione.”
Early in Marchione’s remarks she took a conciliatory tone toward McDonald, highlighting his years of service on local, state and national levels. She and her campaign had much harsher rhetoric when he stood in her way, with attacks including the allegation that he sold his principles when he broke party ranks and voted to legalize same-sex marriage.
For the next two years, Marchione promised to work hard to develop a state government that taxes and spends less, has fewer regulations on business and is responsive to the demands of the people. Quoting from a bit of Scripture that she finds comfort in, she added, “Joy cometh in the morning.”
Marchione was the only new state senator from the Capital Region sworn in Friday. The winner in the 46th Senate District has yet to be formally decided. Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk is challenging the 37-vote lead of Assemblyman George Amedore, R-Rotterdam. A winner isn’t expected in that race until next year, and there is no requirement that the seat be filled when the legislative session starts.
At the same time in the Assembly chamber, incoming members Patricia Fahy, D-Albany, and John McDonald, D-Cohoes, were being sworn in. The two new legislators replace long-time representatives Jack McEneny and Ron Canestrari, respectively.
The next new Assembly member was Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, who was sworn in by his new constituent, U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam.
Standing at a podium before the hundreds in the chamber, Santabarbara began by thanking his new constituents in Montgomery County and parts of Schenectady and Albany counties.
“Now I’m ready to work for the people of the 111th Assembly District,” he said.
Santabarbara said his focus would be on creating new jobs and protecting working families. “I look forward to working with my colleagues that are being sworn in here today, the governor, and all the other people I have met so far and the many people I will meet in the months to come,” he said, expressing confidence in the state’s ability to tackle any challenges going forward.
Phil Steck, D-Colonie, was sworn in next as the representative for the 110th Assembly District, where he will succeed Bob Reilly, D-Colonie, and represent Colonie, Niskayuna and part of the city of Schenectady.
“Today is a symbol that the campaign is over and public service begins,” Steck said.
Before commenting on policy goals, he noted that as a staunch abortion rights and gun control supporter, his ideology is different from Reilly’s. “Seventy percent of the district is with me on these issues,” he said, highlighting the fact that redistricting and time has made this district more liberal. “The district is different.”
Steck stressed the likelihood of a coalition forming with the four new Assembly members being sworn in Friday.
He also noted that as freshman, they may be limited in what they can accomplish.
The ceremony concluded with Tonko being ceremonially sworn in for his third term in Congress.
After taking an oath that was administered by newly elected state Supreme Court Judge Christine Clark, he delivered about 15 minutes of remarks.
Tonko said this point in history has parallels with the space race of the 1950s and 1960s, which is why he believes the country is poised for another chance to seize greatness.