Three candidates will face off Nov. 3 for state Sen. George Amedore Jr.’s seat, a position he has held since 2014.
Voters will choose among Michelle Hinchey, daughter of the late U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey; former state trooper Richard M. Amedure Jr.; and Green Party candidate Robert Alft Jr. Child victims advocate Gary Greenberg is running as a write-in candidate after unsuccessfully trying to secure the Democratic Party nomination.
The 46th Senate District includes all of Montgomery and Greene counties and portions of Schenectady, Albany and Ulster Counties.
Former state trooper, Army veteran
Columbia-Greene Community College 1984
Richard M. Amedure Jr. of Rensselaerville is running for the state Senate on the Republican, Conservative and Independence Party lines. Prior to running for office, Amedure served as executive director and vice president of the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association and Rensselaerville planning board chairman.
Amedure cited bail reform, economic growth and fiscal responsibility as some of his top priorities.
He described the new bail-reform and discovery laws as playing an instrumental part in his decision to run for office.
“The fact that they would take away judicial discretion from our local judges is very frustrating to me,” Amedure said. “They passed laws without understanding the issues. They did not bring in all interested parties when they drafted this law.”
Bail-reform changes threaten public safety, he said.
“It’s been a disaster for us in upstate New York,” Amedure said. “It made the entire state of New York less safe.”
Creating opportunities that will encourage young people to stay in the area is important, Amedure said.
“Many people are still leaving the state in droves with little security and no economic opportunity,” he said. “There’s no reason to stay here. We need to create some economic opportunity for our young people to stay here.”
High living expenses can make New York undesirable, he said.
“The cost of living and doing business in New York is too high,” Amedure said. “We need fiscal responsibility in the state. The state taxes too much and we spend too much. We need to get our fiscal house in order.”
Amedure and his wife, Anne, have two children, Mike and Sarah.
Former communications executive
New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations 2009
Michelle Hinchey of Saugerties is running for the state Senate on the Democratic and Working Families party lines.
Hinchey’s aspirations for office include cultivating economic development, protecting the environment, expanding broadband coverage, health care and education.
“We need to level the playing field so that children, regardless of where they are, have the resources and educational tools they need to be successful,” Hinchey said.
Job creation is also an important part of keeping young people in the area, she said.
“We need to bring good-paying jobs back into the community,” she said.
Building infrastructure in upstate New York is also a priority, Hinchey said.
“The fact that many communities in upstate New York don’t have broadband, in 2020, is a travesty,” she said. “We knew that before COVID but it’s clearly been elevated and exacerbated because of COVID.”
Strengthening emergency services and improving health care is another facet of Hinchey’s platform.
“We clearly have to fix our health care systems, especially for communities like Greene County — you don’t even have a hospital,” she said. “We have to strengthen EMS and first responders. Even with a really daunting budget crisis, instead of looking at places to cut, we need to strengthen. It’s really a life-or-death service.”
In addition to health care, Hinchey wants to make sure upstate communities have access to clean water, she said.
“A lot of people in upstate New York don’t have access to clean water and that’s ridiculous,” she said. “We need to not only be protecting natural resources and working towards fighting climate change, but make sure people have access to clean air and clean water.”
Former production supervisor for Miller Brewing, Army veteran
Lakeland University 1972
Robert Alft Jr. of Voorheesville is running for the state Senate on the Green Party line.
Alft, who describes himself as a peace and justice activist, considers fighting climate change and tackling the state’s debt to be his top priorities.
“One of the first things I want to do is bring about a greater awareness of the Green New Deal and how important it is and that we get started right away,” Alft said. “Science tells us we don’t have a lot of time left to make dramatic changes in how we spew greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. If we don’t accomplish getting emissions down to 0 by 2030, the effects of climate change will become irreversible.”
The state needs to shift gears to renewable energy, he said.
“We need to end construction of pipelines and more gas fuels, electric generating plants and focus instead on renewable energy and we need to do that immediately,” Alft said. “The science is not controversial at all; it has been proven over and over again.”
Alft called for an end to Wall Street bailouts.
“Wall Street is doing fine; our government is in debt and we’re still writing a $16 billion check back to Wall Street,” he said.
Alft wants to see New York switch to a ranked voting system, which allows voters to rank candidates by their preference.
“This creates an open playing field for parties other than just Democrat and Republican,” he said. “It gives voters a greater choice on Election Day.”
Alft and his wife, Margaret, have three children, Nathan, Thomas and Aurora.
American University 1980
Child victims advocate Gary Greenberg is running as a write-in candidate after his petition signatures for the Democratic primary were tossed out. Greenberg has served a one-year term as an Albany County legislator and is no stranger to the state Legislature.
Greenberg spearheaded efforts for the Child Victims Act, which allows victims of childhood abuse to file civil claims regardless of when the abuse occurred, and Erin’s Law, which requires all public schools to implement child sexual abuse programs.
“Given my record of having passed the Child Victims Act and Erin’s Law, after so many years of failure, I’m ready to take that energy and advocacy and go to Albany for the people of this district,” he said. “In these difficult times, we need a senator that has a proven track record of accomplishments and experience, to go down and fight for this district.”
Greenberg said his opponents are inexperienced.
“I know how to get things done in Albany,” he said. “I’m ready to go there and roll up my sleeves the first day.”
Health care is among his top priorities.
“They were one vote short for the New York State Healthcare Act and I want to be that vote that gets it over the finish line,” he said. “Every person in New York state, whether a senior or a child, deserves good quality health care,” he said.
Greenberg does not want the Environmental Bond Act, which provides funding for infrastructure and clean water, to be sidelined.
“I want to get that back on the ballot as quickly as possible,” Greenberg said.
Dealing with the opioid epidemic is another concern.
“Greene County and Montgomery County are two of the highest counties with opiate deaths,” he said. “With the virus it’s made the situation worse.”
The need for broadband has become even greater during the pandemic, he said.
“With schools going remote now, houses need to make sure they have broadband,” he said. “Some of these areas don’t have good broadband and that’s very sad in this day and age.”
The pandemic has made issues of child abuse and sexual assault more pronounced, Greenberg said, adding he will continue to work on those issues.
Greenberg proposes eliminating the statute of limitations for child sexual-abuse cases and stricter penalties for offenders.
Although he supports the Second Amendment, Greenberg wants gun violence addressed.
“As a society, it’s insane an 11-year-old would be shot just outside of his house in the city of Troy,” Greenberg said. “We have to deal with that by getting the illegal guns that criminals and gangs have off the streets.”
Greenberg proposed marijuana legislation and online sports betting as ways to close the state’s $16 billion deficit.
Greenberg and his wife Maria reside in New Baltimore.