Campaign Countdown: Candidates for New York’s 45th State Senate District
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - We are taking a look at the race for New York’s 45th State Senate District. It’s the largest Senate district in the state, covering the North Country and Adirondacks, extending nearly to the capital region.
On the ballot is incumbent Republican Sen. Dan Stec vying for his second term. His challenger is Jean Lapper, a Democrat who says change is needed in the district.
“I enjoy the work, I truly do,” Stec said.
Stec wants a second term as a state senator. Prior to winning his seat in the Senate, he was an assemblyman, a town supervisor and town board member. Before getting into politics, he was an engineer and served in the Navy.
“Service has been a part of my life but something interesting, something challenging. That’s what I’ve always sought and I’ve had it so far,” he said.
Stec says looking at the issues in the district, inflation and affordability are the biggest concerns, followed by infrastructure.
“Roads and bridges, it’s boring stuff, it’s not exciting stuff but when it fails, everyone knows it and it becomes a public safety issue,” Stec said.
He says a lesson learned during COVID was the critical need for broadband, which could bring in new residents to the region.
“There is a lot of jobs out there that you can do remote and people would love to live in the Adirondacks and report in or connect in on broadband to maybe an employer down in New York City or Long Island, so that’s great for our economy,” Stec said.
The senator feels the state is attacking people’s Second Amendment rights, citing the new controversial gun legislation in the state that outlines where and when someone can carry a firearm. A person not following the law can be charged with a felony.
“I think the law is unconstitutional,” Stec said, “and whether it takes a year or ten years, eventually courts are going to throw out most of this new law.”
He says there is an imbalance of power within the state’s government.
“State Constitution and the way it’s supposed to work, there is supposed to be a check and a balance. I think the last several years we, the Legislature, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have allowed the executive to have far too much power,” Stec said.
“There’s a lot of needs that are not being met right now,” said Jean Lapper, the Democrat on the ballot.
She moved to Queensbury in 1985 from Long Island. She said the North Country quickly made her feel at home which is why she chose to stay and raised her kids there with her husband, Peter.
Working as a certified public accountant, Lapper says she understands finance and how to balance a budget.
“I understand the tax law which is a significant part of state government,” she said.
Lapper says she has spent her life serving her community, a Rotarian for 27 years, an interim executive director at the United Way and has served on many boards.
“As a result, I’ve gotten to know the community well and the needs of the community. I’ve always felt a real need to serve,” Lapper said.
She says she’s running for office because those community needs are not being addressed. She says small businesses are hurting and in need of investment. She says young people are learning and then leaving the region. But most importantly, she says there is an erosion of people’s personal and privacy rights.
“As a woman, as a mother to daughters, I think it’s essential right now that I step up and protect women’s rights, particularly reproductive rights,” Lapper said.
She has her eye on broadband, too, calling it a modern-day necessity.
“For health care, for education and for business. Really it’s our way of life at this point, and the fact that so many people don’t have access isn’t fair to them,” Lapper said.
She says it’s essential to pay attention to the environment, saying this part of the county offers a special beauty that is worth protecting.
As she travels the district, she says voters share these values.
“I think I will bring responsible, constructive conversation to Albany to get our needs met,” Lapper said. “I think we are all tired of the rhetoric and the divisiveness.”
Both say the campaigning is going well and they will continue to go out and speak to voters over the next month.
To learn more about the candidates, you can visit their websites.
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