Four local candidates (and Texan) seek 3 Legislature seats
SCHENECTADY COUNTY Charles Quadarini will appear on the ballot to represent District 4, but he’s now lacking the one of the main requirements to serve on the Schenectady County Legislature: Residency.
The Rotterdam Republican recently moved to Texas to take a job with an energy company. But the timing was such that there is no way to avoid having his name on the ballot.
“Running for political office to me was about taking a stand to represent the people of my community, not about a career change like the move to Texas was,” he said.
Yet Quadarini is still asking voters to support him in protest of one-party rule. He said every vote he gets will serve as an objection to the supermajority the Democrats have maintained for years.
Granted, the majority of the Legislature will get to choose Quadarini’s replacement in the unlikely event he is elected, and the Democrats would almost assuredly appoint one of their own. Still, Quadarini believes its time to send a message.
“Do not stay home and say ‘I can’t do anything,’ ” he said. “Right now, you have that opportunity. If you are sick and tired of the county acting on their best interest and not yours, cast a vote for me and send a message.”
The GOP also is running Brian McGarry for the three seats up for grabs in the district.
County Democrats have endorsed incumbents Holly Vellano — a Conservative — and Matt Martin for the seats, which include the one now occupied by Legislature Chairwoman Judith Dagostino. In addition, the party has backed Conservative Randy Pascarella.
Dagostino, who was elected to the Legislature as a Republican in 2001 and helped swing its majority when she switched enrollment to Democrat in 2003, will not seek another term in office. She is one of the Legislature’s longest-tenured members still serving in office.
Martin: Eyes 1st full term
Martin, who was appointed to fill out the term of Angelo Santabarbara after he was elected to the state Assembly, will run for his first full term. Martin believes the county needs to start finding ways to reduce the burden of state mandates, including rising cost of social services.
“Although fraud is a major contributor, I believe the core issue is the lack of opportunity,” he said. “This can be as simple as a shortage of livable-wage career prospects or as deep-rooted as the negative effects associated with poverty.”
Martin also advocates for long-term planning when it comes to budgeting for the county. He said reducing the reliance on the fund balance is dependent on long-term planning and diligence year after year.
“Contrary to the sometimes scheming political lure, there is no single magic elixir. Large-scale fiscal prudence takes the same detailed and realistic approach as a successful personal finance strategy,” he said.
Pascarella: Cut fraud
If elected, Pascarella said he’d push for ways to reduce welfare fraud.
He’s also for reducing the size of government in order to keep county spending in check.
“County finances need to be controlled by reducing spending in every department across the board,” he said. “We need to reduce the size of government by consolidating services and departments.”
McGarry: End 1-party rule
McGarry offered his candidacy as an alternative to one-party rule. He said the county is in a dangerous spot now because one party is running it more or less unchecked.
“This is not a partisan shot,” he said. “It’s more of a statement of human nature. Without competition, man, left to his own devices, tends to continue on an unsustainable path.”
And that path is starting to become apparent, McGarry said.
With the county poised to pass existing pension liabilities to future budgets, he believes the budget is on a collision course with insolvency.
“This is irresponsible and an abdication of leadership and courage,” he said. “The truth of the matter is that priorities within the county budget are going to have to get a closer look.”
Vellano: Credit leaders
Vellano, an incumbent, doesn’t believe the county’s finances are in any trouble. She credits the county’s leadership for crafting a workable budget, despite facing crippling mandates from the state.
“We are vigilant in finding areas where the county may utilize shared services, consolidation and elimination of government redundancies in order to lower the need to rely on fund balance,” she said.
Vellano is also focused on the health of the county’s economy and believes it is important to bring good-paying jobs to the area. She said the new Glendale Home is an asset, but remains skeptical about cost to taxpayers.
“The economic conditions of today have made it more and more difficult for counties to fund such entities,” she said. “Privatization should certainly be a consideration.”