ALBANY N.Y. (NEWS10) — In the race to represent the 108th district for the New York State Assembly, Albany County legislator Sam Fein is looking to unset democratic incumbent Assemblyman John McDonald. The district covers portions of Albany, Rensselaer and Saratoga Counties.
Sam Fein is currently serving his second term in the Albany County Legislature. The 30-year-old democrat said his campaign has been powered by the people rather than corporations. “We put in a lot of work, we have a big volunteer team, we made thousands of calls, we sent out mailers we’ve really got our message out there and I think voters are ready for change,” said Fein.
As a County Legislator, he proposed and passed legislation to end employment discrimination for formally incarcerated people by removing criminal history questions from job applications.
If elected, he said he would be aggressive when addressing progressive issues. “For example when it comes to raising the minimum wage or legalizing marijuana, or affordable housing regulations, or repealing 50-A and police reform or criminal justice reform. McDonald is sometimes on the right side of those issues, but we really need someone who is going to really push these forward,” said Fein.
Fein also said he would push to raise taxes for the wealthiest New Yorkers. “We need the courage to tax the wealthiest people in the state who have been using their influence to get tax breaks over the years so we can fully fund our schools, fully fund our local governments, our community programs,” said Fein.
Assemblyman John McDonald is a lifelong resident of Cohoes and is serving his fourth term. He’s on a number of committees and serves as Chair for the Oversight, Analysis and Investigations committee. He told News10, in lieu of campaigning over the last few months, he’s been focused on helping people through the struggles of the pandemic. “The past three months has been hellacious for many residents particularly when it comes to unemployment, access to health insurance, and for understanding when is my businesses going to reopen or not,” said Assemblyman McDonald.
Over the last eight years, he said he’s proud of the work he’s done in establishing a significant increase in education funding, the creation of the first of its kind clean water infrastructure grant program, the workforce development fund, and addressing blight in neighborhoods.
The 58-year-old formerly served as mayor of Cohoes for thirteen years. He also owns Marra’s Pharmacy in Cohoes and is the only practicing health care professional in the legislature. “This isn’t my first rodeo, particularly during difficult times and difficult times is when leadership really needs to step up and we need to be listening and we need to be acting. People know that I’m not here because I need the job, I already have a job. I’m not here because I need the money, I’m here because I want to serve,” said Assemblyman McDonald.
Polls closed at 9:00 on Tuesday night, but absentee ballots will not be counted for at least another week, so it will take some time before all results are in.
Assemblyman McDonald said he would be watching the results roll in Tuesday night at home. “The early voting results popped first and it was almost a two to one margin there which is good. It’s a small number, but it’s a good number. We’re upbeat, but we also recognize that probably more than half the votes will still have to be counted next week. Until those votes are counted it’s hard to really say with certainty what the outcome will be, but I’m very encouraged by the results so far,” said Assemblyman McDonald.
Fein is also watching the results roll in from home. He said so far, he has high hopes. “We expected it to be a very close race and based on the numbers we have it’s basically tied so this is what we expected. There are still so many ballots out there so it’s hard to know where we’re at, but we’re feeling good,” said Fein.
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