Incumbent Republican Assemblyman Chris Tague will defend his seat Nov. 3 against Democratic newcomer Betsy Kraat.
The 102nd Assembly District includes all of Greene and Schoharie counties and parts of Delaware, Columbia, Albany, Otsego and Ulster counties.
Retired general manager for Cobleskill Stone Products, former dairy farmer
Schoharie Central School 1987
Chris Tague, of Schoharie, is running for his second full term on the Republican, Conservative and Independence party lines. Prior to being elected to the Assembly in April 2018 to fill former Assemblyman Pete Lopez’s seat, Tague served as the Schoharie town supervisor. He chairs the Schoharie County Republican Committee.
The assemblyman is most proud of the work he has done to support small businesses, farmers, first responders and health care, he said.
Four schools in the 102nd Assembly District have partnered with Bassett Healthcare, allowing students to have dental and regular visits with health providers, Tague said.
“I think it’s incredible and a great program, which I’d like to extend across the whole state,” he said.
Tague has also supported Nourish NY, a $25 million initiative that helps streamline products from upstate farms to food banks.
“We need to help struggling farmers and ensure our children and most vulnerable are getting food and getting fed,” he said.
Tague proposed that the program be extended and funding be increased to $50 million.
Food shortages should be a non-issue, Tague said.
“New York is well sufficient to feed the state population,” he said. “Unfortunately, due to regulations and our farmers being at a competitive disadvantage, we bring in a lot of food when we have farms right here. We need to start taking care of our own farmers in New York state.”
Government needs to take a backseat when it comes to regulating businesses, Tague said.
“We have to get government out of regulating businesses,” he said. “We have the greatest farmers, the best quality control and we’re the most heavily regulated. We need to let them do their jobs and allow them an opportunity to make some sort of profit.”
In light of the COVID-19 crisis, Tague co-sponsored the Small Business Recovery Act, which provides incentives and tax credits to small businesses.
Broadband coverage is another concern for the assemblyman.
“Listen, it’s 2020,” he said. “There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have internet and cell phone coverage across upstate New York.”
The lack of coverage can become dangerous in emergency situations when residents may lack the ability to call 911, he said.
As a former firefighter, Tague has worked to support emergency services. Tague spearheaded legislation allowing firefighters, ambulance and EMS personnel to receive state income-tax exemptions and will fight for EMS to become classified as an essential service.
Tague takes a conservative approach to government.
“One of the problems in New York is the high taxes and exorbitant spending, usually championed by downstate lawmakers and special interest groups,” he said. “I will champion to make government smaller and more efficient. I think that by doing that, we would get our economy in rural upstate New York moving at a much better pace.”
If re-elected, Tague will use his real-world experience to represent his constituents, he said.
“I’m not a Harvard, Yale or Princeton grad,” he said. “I’m a regular person who has lived and worked in this district my entire life and decided to run to try and make things better and give rural upstate New York a voice.”
Tague and his wife, Dana, have two children, Sierra and Drew.
Experience in publishing and nonprofit organizations
Fordham University 2020
Democratic challenger Betsy Kraat wants to strengthen health care, education and housing resources in the 102nd Assembly District, she said.
“I’m hoping to represent the people of District 102 in a meaningful way, to bring resources back to the community, to advocate for the things we need, like broadband and improved health-care facilities,” Kraat said. “My opponent has done none of that.”
In terms of housing, Kraat proposes a crackdown on Airbnbs.
“Greene County had more Airbnb visitors than residents last year so that really needs to be examined as something that’s detracting from the housing stock and needs to be regulated in the same way that bed-and-breakfasts are,” she said. “It’s not fair that someone who is running a bed-and-breakfast is subject to restrictions and someone next door who is operating several Airbnb units is not subjected to the same regulations. It’s a loophole that needs to be closed.”
Kraat supports the New York Health Act and wants to see more services, such as maternity services, offered in Greene County.
“I think we need to look at where we want to go as a community,” she said. “If we have hospitals that don’t offer maternity services, you have to go outside of the district to have a baby. If we want families raising kids here, you have to have a place to have a baby. It’s kind of a no-brainer.”
Kraat is hopeful the increase in population with the influx of downstaters during the pandemic may help get better services for the community, she said.
In terms of education, Kraat said she would like to see State University of New York and City University of New York schools offer free tuition, and funding for public schools secured.
“Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo has been withholding money that belongs to the public schools,” she said. “He needs to release it. Now, he will point to the budget deficit as to why he can’t fund public schools. If he taxes donors, we will have plenty of money for everything.”
Kraat called for a change in leadership, both locally and nationally.
“Tague is a Trump delegate,” she said. “If we want to vote Trump out, we need to vote Tague out.”
Kraat and her twin 14-year-old sons live in Hunter.