Former state Assemblyman George Amedore officially launched his campaign on Monday challenging Cecilia Tkaczyk in a second battle for the 46th Senate District seat.
Tkaczyk defeated Amedore by 18 votes and was declared the winner in early 2013. During a news conference announcing his run, Amedore slammed the Duanesburg Democrat for not representing the “interests and values” of her constituents.
“My opponent has not stood up for the people in this district and we have an opportunity to change all of that,” Amedore said at Village Pizza II in Catskill, Greene County. The pizza shop was rebuilt six months ago following an electrical fire.
Family: Married; one child
Occupation: Sheep farmer
Family: Married; three children
Occupation: Vice president of Amedore Homes
Amedore said Tkaczyk is aligned with a Democratic conference that has a New York City-based agenda and also knocked her support of the SAFE Act — New York’s gun control law that bans high-capacity magazines, requires ammunition dealers to do background checks and creates a registry of assault weapons.
He pushed the need for mandate relief on local governments to help decrease property taxes for homeowners and businesses. He said the 2014-15 state budget does not do enough to relieve the property tax burden for New Yorkers.
“Right here in Greene County, property owners pay the highest taxes per home value,” Amedore said. “The state comptroller says that Greene County is the second-least affordable housing market in New York, and Ulster County is third. We need a senator who knows how and has the experience to bring together businesses and government to promote a strong, local economy.”
Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, and Assemblyman Pete Lopez, R-Schoharie, joined the Rotterdam Republican for his campaign announcement. Before redistricting in 2012, Seward’s district included Greene County.
Seward said Tkaczyk has not addressed important policies for residents in Greene County and throughout the district such as lower taxes, new job opportunities and an end to costly mandates on local governments.
“I was extremely disappointed to lose Greene County from my Senate district during the redistricting two years ago,” Seward said. “In my mind your values here in Greene County and throughout this part of the state in the Senate district have not been well represented in the state Senate these past two years.”
Tkaczyk responded to Amedore’s campaign announcement in a statement Monday stressing her focus on work in the Legislature. She could not be reached for a phone interview.
“There will be a time for campaigning, but right now my only concerns are helping our rural and small city schools, providing tax relief for middle-class families and businesses, and helping our small businesses to grow and create jobs,” Tkaczyk said.
Josh Cherwin, executive director of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, called Amedore’s views “anti-choice and anti-woman.”
“Amedore’s values are entirely out of step with the attitudes of Albany, Greene, Montgomery, Schenectady and Ulster county residents,” Cherwin said in a news release. “George Amedore should be ashamed of his three terms in the Assembly in which he consistently voted against equal pay for women, rejected raising the minimum wage and opposed stronger protections against domestic violence.”
Andrea Miller, president of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, and M. Tracey Brooks, CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York, are supporting Tkaczyk for a second term.
Amedore served in the Assembly for about five years before running for Senate. The 46th Senate District was created two years ago and includes nearly all of Amedore’s old Assembly district. The district map covers parts of Albany, Schenectady and Ulster counties and all of Greene and Montgomery counties.
After both Amedore and Tkaczyk claimed themselves victorious for the Senate seat in 2012, a mid-level state appeals court ruled for counting 99 previously invalidated ballots. The recount pushed Tkaczyk ahead of Amedore’s 35-vote lead and she was named senator.
“I thought long and hard and I have given it a lot of consideration,” Amedore said. “Do I run a second time for state Senate? After what happened to me the first time, do I want to do this again? Well, for the last year and a half we needed someone who represents our interests and shares our values. We haven’t had that in the state Senate.”