The state Legislature elected a new Board of Regents member on Tuesday to represent the Capital Region following the resignation of incumbent James Jackson.
Josephine Victoria-Finn, a Monticello village judge, was appointed to the Regents board for a five-year term beginning in April. Her district represents Albany, Rensselaer, Columbia, Greene, Schoharie, Ulster and Sullivan counties.
“I am not an educator by career choice but I have had my concerns with education and I have been involved with it quite a bit as a judge,” Finn said during her interview with lawmakers on Monday for the Regents seat.
Jackson withdrew his bid for re-election just hours before the vote in a joint legislative session Tuesday afternoon. The Regents votes are not typically debated, but the board has faced widespread criticism in response to the state’s Common Core learning standards.
Three incumbent Regents were up for re-election, and all of them reclaimed their seats despite a tough vote among legislators. Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg, along with several of her Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle voted against the incumbents.
Tkaczyk said she believes the Regents have done “a very poor job” of rolling out the Common Core. She was looking to new members on the board to address concerns about the Common Core and state education funding for schools.
James Cottrell and Wade Norwood, who represent the entire state, were re-elected with 120 votes and 118 votes. Christine Cea, who represents Staten Island, was also re-elected with 116 votes. Finn received 121 votes. Incumbents require 107 legislators’ votes for re-election.
Finn said in her interview for the Regents seat that she supports the Common Core, but agrees with a majority of legislators that changes should be considered for its implementation statewide.
“I like the Common Core. I like the way it’s laid out and it makes sense,” Finn said. “But the way it was rolled out, we can talk about that.”
Finn has a law degree from the University at Buffalo, a State University of New York school. She was elected as village justice in 2002 and has been practicing law for more than 28 years.
Finn also has her own website, JosephineFinn.com, where she offers a weekly blog and e-book that provides advice on "applying spiritual principle to business practices" and weight loss support.
Finn will be replacing Jackson, who served on the Board of Regents for three years. Jackson is from the Albany area and was previously principal at Shaker High School in Latham for more than 14 years.