Sen. Daphne Jordan, R-Halfmoon, is hitting her stride in her first term in the New York State Senate.
In November, Jordan defeated Democrat Aaron Gladd for the 43rd Senate District seat -- one of the region's most-watched races. The district runs from eastern Saratoga County through rural Rensselaer County to Columbia County.
She is succeeding her former boss, state Sen. Kathy Marchione, R-Halfmoon, who decided not to seek re-election.
Jordan is Marchione's former legislative director and a former member of the Halfmoon Town Board. Much of her staff also worked under Marchione.
That means, Jordan said, her team already knows how to navigate the day-to-day duties of working for a senator, leaving her time to focus on policy and communicating with constituents.
“We’ve got quite a machine here,” she said.
Specifically, Jordan has been adjusting to viewing legislators as her peers. She knew many senators as a staffer, she said, but getting to know them as a fellow senator has been a different experience for her.
She noted that Marchione was, for six years, a “wonderful voice” in the Senate, but she added that she was excited to be that voice now.
“It’s very exciting. I can speak to them as colleagues, now,” Jordan said.
Jordan has wasted no time in becoming involved. She recently 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. As ranking minority member of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, she will lead the committee's Republican members.
Jordan also was named ranking minority member of the Native American Relations Subcommittee of the racing and gaming panel.
She was involved in the re-privatization of the New York Racing Association and said she recognizes how important horse racing is, not just to her district, but to New York State in general.
Jordan called the Saratoga Race Course and casino “two jewels” in her district. It is crucial to see them both succeed, she said, because of the thousands of people they employ, as well as the boon they provide to the local tourist industry.
Jordan’s other goals for this legislative session include making New York an affordable place to live, and making sure there are job opportunities in the state to keep residents from moving away.
Jordan was quick to issue criticisms of Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State Address for its lack of focus on relief efforts or upstate New York in general.
“I sat there, listening to the speech, and the buzzwords that I was waiting to hear from him were upstate or tax relief. I didn’t hear those words,” she said.
A balance, Jordan said, needs to be found that will both provide for the colossal needs of New York City and the needs of the rest of the state.
Coming from Halfmoon, acquainting herself with the other towns and counties in her district has been something Jordan has been working on for the past few weeks.
“I have to say that really getting involved with the other counties has been really gratifying and rewarding for me. Even though I was on staff before, now I’m the person meeting these people,” she said.
Keeping the Senate seat in Halfmoon though, for Jordan, is something she sees as unique way to continue Marchione’s work.
“It’s been a real honor for me,” Jordan said.