ALBANY -- New state Sen. Daphne Jordan, R-Halfmoon, has landed the top Republican seat on the Senate committee that oversees horse racing, a critically important part of the Capital Region's summer tourism economy.
"Horse racing is absolutely vital to our economy, job creation, local farms and way of life, not just here in Saratoga County, but across our Capital Region and the entire state," Jordan said. "I look forward to serving in this important position and will continue working to ensure that the Saratoga Race Course and horse racing have a bright and prosperous future."
Jordan was named ranking minority member of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, meaning she will lead the committee's Republican members.
The appointment of the 43rd Senate District senator was among the committee assignments revealed as the Legislature returned to the state Capitol last week, with Republicans having lost control of the Senate and having the least influence in decades. In the Capital Region, the new legislators are Republicans.
Jordan defeated Democrat Aaron Gladd in one of the region's most-watched races in November. She is succeeding her former boss, state Sen. Kathy Marchione, R-Halfmoon. Marchione decided not to seek re-election last year.
Jordan is the former legislative director for Marchione and a former member of the Halfmoon Town Board.
Marchione also served on the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee. Jordan's district includes Saratoga Springs and Saratoga Race Course, where the six-week New York Racing Association summer meet is the heart of the tourism economy.
The appointment was made by Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan. With Democrats having taken control of the Senate, the Democratic conference named Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., D-Queens, chairman of the committee, replacing Sen. William Larkin, who did not seek re-election last year. The Aqueduct racetrack and Resorts World casino are both in Abbaddo's district, and he was previously the committee's ranking minority member.
Jordan was also named ranking minority member of the Native American Relations Subcommittee of the racing and gaming panel.
Other senators and Assembly members received their committee assignments, as well.
State Sen. James Tedisco, R-Glenville, who was elected to a second term representing the 49th Senate District, will be the ranking Republican on the committees on Children and Families, Consumer Protection, and Animal Welfare.
"These committees have the common thread of committees that are designed to stand up for and give voice to those who have the smallest of voices and those who have no voice and protect them from harm. That’s what I’ve strived to do my entire legislative career,” Tedisco said.
Tedisco has also vowed to fight much of the progressive agenda Democrats are expected to push. He "will continue to stand-up and speak out for my constituents in order to protect their quality of life and make upstate and our entire state the kind of New York they want it to be, and fight the extreme agenda that looks to be coming forward this year," he said at a swearing in ceremony last week.
Sen. George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, will be ranking member of the Housing, Construction and Community Development Committee. He also continues to co-chair the Heroin Task Force and the Task Force on Workforce Development, and is chair of the Technology and Innovation Committee.
In the Assembly, where Democratic power has been entrenched for decades, the newest member representing part of the Capital Region is Republican Robert Smullen, of Fulton County, who replaces Marc Butler. He has been named ranking member of the Libraries and Education Technology Committee -- a position he said can be used to improve library services in his 118th Assembly District, from library book exchanges to long-distance learning.
"The Adirondack Park and the North Country are both gorgeous places to live and visit," he said. "However, for residents, it can be difficult to get full access to all the educational opportunities children need to grow and learn."
102nd District Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-Schoharie, was named ranking member of the Tourism Committee. He won his first full term in November after initially winning the seat in an April 2018 special election.
Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh, R-Ballston, who won her second term representing the 112th District in November, will be ranking member of the Committee on Education.
“New York state must be a national leader in public education," Walsh said. "We have access to tremendous resources, talented teachers and quality school districts. We also face a defining challenge -- to equip the future generation of New Yorkers with the skills they need to be successful in the ever-changing world around them.”
Among Assembly Democrats, local members are continuing in leadership posts they previously held.
Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, will chair the Commission on Rural Resources, and also the Subcommittee on Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Assemblyman Phil Steck, D-Colonie, is chairman of the Task Force on People with Disabilities and chair of the Subcommittee on Insurer Investments and Market Practices in Underinsured Areas.
Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, D-Albany, continues to chair the Commission on Science and Technology. Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake, chairs the Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Agricultural Production & Technology.