Choosing between George Amedore and Cecilia Tkaczyk in the race for New York's 46th Senate District race was not easy.
I am pro-life, while Tkaczyk is not. Amedore is pro-life, in that he is against abortion, but there is more to being pro-life than that. For me, opposing all unnecessary wars, for example, is part of being pro-life. Protecting the environment is also part of being pro-life.
My biggest problem with voting for Amedore, however, was his connection with Amedore homes. He is a vice president of Amedore Homes, which I feel is a major contributor to the destruction of rural land and to suburban sprawl in the Capital District and surrounding regions.
While Amedore Homes builds houses that meet modern standards and the desires of some local people, virtually all the homes and communities they build are on what was once farmland or unused rural space.
These houses and communities contribute to sprawl, increased traffic, new infrastructure rather than using existing infrastructure and interfere with rural habitats. Meanwhile, Amedore Homes pays little attention to our urban areas and villages, which have infrastructure already in place and have serious housing needs.
For the first 15 years I lived in Amsterdam, I rarely saw a boarded-up house. Now the city is literally falling down around us. Amedore, however, has shown little interest in Amsterdam's housing problems, with as many as 500 houses, according to one talk show host, waiting to be foreclosed on.
George Amedore and Amedore Homes could do something about this problem. But what have they done instead? They purchased a former chicken farm on the corner of Wallins Corner and Midline roads and built new townhouses there.
Not only have these houses contributed to sprawl and traffic problems at that corner, they have, like most of the growth in the town of Amsterdam, injured the city of Amsterdam.
The city is to blame, in part. Little growth on Route 30, Midline Road and Wallins Corner Road could have happened without the city providing water and sewer hookups for the developers at a price that will never adequately compensate the city for its loss of business and housing to the town.
The officers of Amedore Homes, including George Amedore, are not visionaries. They build using worn-out practices that create sprawl, increase traffic, destroy rural property, injure habitats and the environment, and add to the decline of our cities.
If George were a real leader, a visionary, Amedore Homes would abandon its future projects in the countryside, such as the controversial proposed subdivision in the town of Glenville, come to Amsterdam and put their expertise to work helping revitalize it. And they could make money doing it, although probably not as much as they are used to.
Even with extensive growth in the town of Amsterdam, population in Montgomery County has remained almost flat. Unemployment has not improved. Taxes continue to go up. And even the town of Amsterdam, which has benefited the most from growth in the county, has considered a highway tax to meet its budget.
All that has happened is we have shifted some of the population from the city and villages to the towns, creating sprawl and urban decay.
Agriculture is still Montgomery County's biggest industry. Other assets include our extensive history and our rural beauty. Our elected officials need to be promoting and supporting agriculture, ag tourism, historic preservation, heritage tourism and the rehabilitation of our cities and villages.
We do not need more rural tracts turned into subdivisions. I thought Cecilia Tkacyzk understood that better than George Amedore, so I voted for her. Unfortunately, not enough people agreed with me.
To be pro-life is to care about the unborn. Caring about the unborn does involve making sure they are not aborted. But it also means seeing that after they are born, they have a future.
The biggest threats to generations to come are primarily environmental, not only the damage done to our planet, but the need for food, plenty of clean water and other natural resources. It also means adequate housing in our cities.
Now that Amedore has been elected senator, I hope he will put his extensive experience in the housing industry to work solving the housing crisis in our cities and villages. I hope he will also work to preserve our rural areas.
Amedore has promised change, but he cannot bring change if he continues to do things the same way he and Amedore Homes have been doing them for years.
Daniel T. Weaver lives in Amsterdam and is a regular contributor to the Sunday Opinion section.