Montgomery County Undersheriff Peter Vroman is poised to become the Republican candidate to represent the 111th state Assembly District, a seat now held by Democrat Angelo Santabarbara.
The retired deputy U.S. marshal started quietly gathering support for a run for the seat last month and has already garnered informal endorsements from much of the district, which includes Montgomery County and parts of Schenectady and Albany counties. He introduced himself as a candidate for state office Tuesday during the GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner.
In running for public office, Vroman said he sees an opportunity to bring the experience he gained through 32 years of public service to the state Legislature. Though acknowledging that politics are new to him, he believes his knowledge on issues of security and ability to build partnerships between public agencies would be an asset to improving the quality of life in the district.
“I would like to use my experience in public service to serve the people in the legislative district,” he said Wednesday.
Vroman, 53, started his career in law enforcement in 1982 as a patrolman in Essex, Vt., later moving to the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department and then the U.S. Marshals Service. There, he served a distinguished 28-year career as a deputy and was even considered at one point for a presidential appointment as U.S. marshal for the Northern District of New York.
With the Marshals Service, Vroman covered a 32-county region. His career experience ranged from seizing ocean-going ships to managing the transportation of federal prisoners to county jails across New York.
Vroman, who now lives in Canajoharie, retired in January. Only five days later, Montgomery County Sheriff Michael Amato tabbed him for his second-in-command, a position left open when veteran Jeff Smith retired to take a job as county emergency management director.
Vroman said if elected he’d resign as undersheriff, a very public position that he’s enjoyed during his first two months. He said his commitment to serving the district is strong.
“Everybody knows I’m serious about this race,” he said. “I want to help this Assembly district out.”
In January, Vroman received an endorsement from the Rotterdam Republican Committee — an important step in building broad support in the district. George Amedore, the only Republican to win the seat over the past three decades, was aided by his strong base in his hometown of Rotterdam.
“He’s an excellent candidate,” said Tracy Donovan, chairwoman of the town’s Republican committee.
Much of the current 111th Assembly District was part of the 105th Assembly District before being redrawn in 2012. From 1983 until 2007, the seat was occupied by Democrat Paul Tonko, who is now a congressman.
Amedore was able to win the seat in a special election held after Tonko resigned to run the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
Then, after a successful five-year run, Amedore chose to seek election instead for the newly created 46th state Senate District in 2012.
Democrats quickly rallied behind Santabarbara, a Schenectady County legislator from Rotterdam. Republicans, however, were slow to endorse anyone to run in the 111th after several different candidates emerged throughout the district.
Minden Supervisor Tom Quackenbush was eventually endorsed. But his campaign never gelled with Republicans in Schenectady and he was soundingly defeated by Santabarbara, who drew about 60 percent of the vote.
Now Republicans believe they have a candidate who can defeat the incumbent. Schenectady County Chairman James Buhrmaster lauded Vroman as straight shooter who will gather strong support among district voters.
“He’s kind of a no-nonsense person,” he said. “Quite honestly, I don’t know when we’ve had someone of this caliber run.”
Joseph Emanuele III, chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Committee, echoed this sentiment. He said candidates like Vroman don’t come along too often.
“He’s got a strong character and a lot of integrity,” he said. “I think people are going to be impressed.”