Today, Democrats in Montgomery County and Republicans in two Fulton County communities have the opportunity to choose who moves on to November's general election.
The race in Montgomery County is the largest locally, with three Democrats vying for the right to challenge Republican Assemblyman George Amedore for the newly created 46th Senate District. The district, which stretches from St. Johnsville to Woodstock, came from a redistricting plan that was based on the last official census.
The candidates are Tom Dolan of Coeymans and Monica Arias Miranda and Cecilia Tkaczyk, both of Duanesburg. All three have experience in the political arena: Dolan is a member of the Coeymans town board, Tkaczyk is president of the Duanesburg school board, and Miranda worked for six years as a budget analyst for the Assembly's Ways and Means Committee.
Both Miranda and Tkaczyk said education spending are top issues in their campaign. Tkaczyk wants to make sure rural schools are adequately funded, and Miranda is concerned that widespread cuts in education aid have resulted in massive program cuts at the local level. Dolan said he jumped into the race because of the creation of the 46th District, which many critics say was carved out to help the Republicans hold on to their slim majority in the state Senate, and he believes the state should implement campaign finance reform laws.
All three are opposed to natural gas drilling commonly known as hydrofracking, which has become a statewide issue in recent years and has prompted communities across New York, including some in Montgomery County, to adopt moratoriums on drilling until controls can be put in place.
Regardless of who wins today's primary, it's important for voters in Montgomery County to familiarize themselves with the candidates. For the first time in nearly three decades, the county will be represented in the state Senate by someone not named Hugh Farley, whose district was essentially moved northward (although he gets to keep Fulton County). Local voters should already be familiar with Amedore, whose current Assembly district includes Montgomery County, but the Democratic candidates come from points farther east. Voters should make sure they know everything they possibly can about today's Democratic victor so they can make an informed choice in November.
The Republican primary in Broadablin is for an assessor's post left vacant when longtime assessor Leamon Steele passed away in February. His daughter, Lolalynne Steele, and Dennis Horton are seeking the Republican and Independent lines, and the winner will face no challengers in November. In Gloversville, incumbent city court Judge John Clo is facing challenges from Traci DiMezza and Matthew Trainor, and the winner there also faces no Democratic challenger in the general election.
The polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m. today. Although elections are typically held on Tuesdays, this year's contests were moved to today so as not to conflict with the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Voting is an important right all Americans have, and its citizens should take every opportunity they have to exercise it.