By LOHR McKINSTRY
---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — With no incumbent, the race for the 114th Assembly District is up for grabs on Election Day.
Republican Daniel “Dan” Stec of Queensbury is facing Democrat Dennis “Den” Tarantino of Queensbury to see who will serve the district, which will now include all of Essex and Warren counties as well as the northern sections of Saratoga and Washington counties.
The district was renumbered and its boundaries changed this year through statewide redistricting.
The incumbent, Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward (R-Willsboro), is not running for re-election, having announced her retirement for the end of the year.
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Both candidates answered questions from the Press-Republican and talked about their plans if they’re elected.
What is the biggest issue in the district and what will you do about it if elected?
Stec: “The biggest issue to me is jobs — and the lack of them. This is what I will make my top priority if elected to the Assembly, and I will continue to push my three-point plan.
“The first is to review and revise state policies and regulations that unduly burden the job creators and discourage business expansion and hiring. Now is not the time to drastically increase the minimum wage, as has been proposed.
“In speaking with business owners and leaders of our chambers of commerce, this idea — while sounding good — actually is a job killer. It would do more harm than good, eliminating jobs, placing more people in unemployment and further clogging social-services programs.
“It would also increase the costs of goods and services. It would cripple many small businesses, particularly in the retail, agriculture and tourism sectors — three key industries in our Assembly District.”
The Adirondack Park Agency and its land-use regulations also need revision and simplification, Stec said.
“The arbitrarily drawn Blue Line added yet another obstacle to job creation and economic prosperity for our residents. There is a compromise that must be achieved between the worthy conservation of the important environmental and aesthetic beauty of the Adirondacks and policies that respect private-property rights and the importance of maintaining a regional, private-sector-based economy in the park. The state does not have the financial resources to continue to purchase more private lands in the park.
“Second, lower the cost of doing business in New York and the cost to live here. This must be done by controlling spending at all levels of government. A significant portion of property taxes collected locally are the result of state policies and mandates that require spending by the local governments. In other words, for some counties in the state, if the state-mandated programs were paid for by the state government that ordered them, there would be no county property tax.
“Third, we must improve and add to our infrastructure to attract and grow business. As we all know, our road infrastructure at all government levels has been underfunded and is in desperate need of attention. This must be a priority.
“A relatively new but now critical infrastructure need — particularly in our underserved rural areas — is cellular-phone service and broadband Internet access. Not only are our businesses at a critical disadvantage with inadequate access to these communications systems, but they are part of our everyday home lives and important public-safety resources. We must make the investment in our communities to provide these services.”
Tarantino: “The biggest issue in this election is creating jobs and maintaining jobs in the district. I believe that a strong economy starts with raising the minimum wage, which will boost the local economy by creating more disposable income.”
He said New York has burdensome rules and regulations that hamper job creation and that he’ll try to streamline and rewrite the process.
“Jobs can be retained by eliminating unnecessary government regulations and providing financial assistance to companies through state grants and the regional development councils. All local employers should be encouraged to take advantage of state programs for their benefit.
“Governor Cuomo will prove that ‘New York is open for business’ by providing incentives to businesses that wish to locate in New York state. As an assemblyman, I intend to work closely with entrepreneurs, existing businesses and new business prospects to ensure that our hardworking men and women have opportunities to earn a living wage in the district.
“I will resist outsourcing of jobs at any level, and I will advocate for working men and women so that our unemployment rate does not increase, but in fact will decrease by creating a healthier business climate.”
Do you support mandate relief from Albany, and, if so, how will you go about it?
Stec: “Mandate relief is not only something I support from Albany, but it’s something that is both long overdue and something that I and my peers in regional local government have been seeking for years. Unfunded state mandates and not local discretionary spending decisions lie at the heart of the state’s high-property-tax problem.
“If I am fortunate enough to be elected to the Assembly, I will support legislation proposed to first prohibit any creation of new unfunded state mandates and then I will support the efforts to remove many of these existing mandates from our schools and local governments.”
Tarantino: “I strongly support mandate relief from Albany. My approach would be to review in detail the recommendations of the New York State Association of Counties ‘Roadmap to Mandate Relief.’
“I will closely analyze the 12 or so areas in New York that require mandate relief, starting with Medicaid, which should ultimately be assumed by the federal and/or the state government with no burden upon local taxpayers.
“I will ensure, however, that all Medicaid recipients, both young and old, are not negatively impacted by any change in the Medicaid delivery system.
“I will work with the Mandate Relief Councils and will propose legislation, where appropriate, to enact mandate relief and will partner with county leaders to maintain and bolster the quality of life for all New York state residents.
“I will oppose any future state unfunded mandates which drain local tax dollars from providing the local services that are most needed by our towns and villages.”
Email Lohr McKinstry:
firstname.lastname@example.orgDANIEL G. STEC Party: Republican, Conservative and Independence. Age: 43. Education: University of Rhode Island, Kingston, R.I, master's degree in business administration; Naval Nuclear Power School, Orlando, Fla.; Nuclear Power Training Unit, Ballston Spa; Clarkson University, bachelor of science in chemical engineering. Occupation: Town of Queensbury supervisor and chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors. Previous government experience: Member, Warren County Board of Supervisors; vice chairman, Warren County Board of Supervisors; chairman of the Inter-County Legislative Committee of the Adirondacks; councilman, Town of Queensbury; and member Zoning Board of Appeals, Town of Queensbury. Civic organizations: Member of the Capital Region Economic Development Council; chairman, Warren County Local Development Corp. Board of Directors; member, Warren County Economic Development Corp. Board of Directors. Military service: U.S. Navy lieutenant, 1990-1998, served in Persian Gulf during Desert Storm. Family: Wife, Hilary; son, Peter, 7. DENNIS J. TARANTINO Party: Democrat, Working Families. Age: 63. Education: St. Mary's Academy, Siena College and Albany Law School. Occupation: Attorney and businessman; owner of Maple Abstract and Reality Corp., and the sole proprietor of law firm Kenneally and Tarantino of Glens Falls. Previous government experience: Former town attorney for Moreau; and City of Glens Falls special counsel. Civic organizations: Warren County Bar Foundation. Family: Children: Lisa, 44; Jessica, 38; and Nicholas, 28.