Tkaczyk points to first term in calling for second

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Cecilia Tkaczyk, right, mingles with some of her constituents at “fin, a fishmonger” in Star Plaza, after her May 31 announcement that she will run for re-election in the 46th Senate District. Tkaczyk says she plans to run on her record and hopes she will win by a larger margin that she did in 2012.

Cecilia Tkaczyk, the Democratic senator of the 46th District, announced on Saturday, at events in Guilderland, Kingston, and Fort Plain, that she will run for re-election in the fall.

Her announcement came two months after Republican George Amedore, who lost to Tkaczyk in a close and contentious race in 2012, said that he, too, would run for the seat a second time.

“I’ve been sitting as the senator for the past 18 months and I’ve worked really hard, and I’ve gotten some things done, but there’s clearly a lot more to get done,” said Tkaczyk, of her decision to run for a second term.

The 46th Senate District, drawn up by a Republican-majority Senate, stretches over five counties: Albany, Schenectady, Montgomery, Greene, and Ulster.

When Amedore, a Guilderland developer, who served one term in the State Assembly, made his campaign announcement in April, he said, “For the last two years, we have not had someone in this Senate district who represents our interests or shares our values in fighting for the things that matter most.”

“To hear him say I haven’t been effective is absurd,” Tkaczyk told The Enterprise this week. “He really either just doesn’t understand what I’m doing or doesn’t know about it.”

Tkaczyk, who raises sheep in Duanesburg and had served on the school board there, spoke of fighting to get more funding for education in the rural and small school districts, helping Fort Plain get its property taxes reduced after experiencing flood damage, and pushing for the expansion of rural broadband Internet services.

In Altamont, she said, she helped the village procure a van for senior services, which was an older member item that had gotten pushed to the side.

Tkaczyk wrote two pieces of legislation that were included in the Assembly and Senate’s budget resolutions, one to reform the way early intervention services for struggling students are provided and paid for, and another to rewrite and expand the Community Mental Health Reinvestment act.

She was also named to the New York State Farm Bureau’s “Circle of Friends,” for the assistance she provided to small farms and businesses.

“These are rare achievements for a freshman legislator,” said Tkaczyk.

She was, in fact, named Legislative Freshman Leader of the Year by the New York State School Boards Association.

“I could go on and on,” she told The Enterprise this week. “If Amedore wants to talk about my record I am happy to talk about my record.”

 Amedore, during the press conference where he announced his candidacy, said that his top priorities would be protecting taxpayers, promoting economic growth, and excellence in education.

“Amedore is clueless about education issues,” said Tkaczyk this week.

She said she was hoping that in 2014 she would win by a larger margin than she did in 2012, when it took three months of court challenges to decide that she had won the race by 18 votes.

Enormous funds had been spent on both sides as the Senate’s party in power had hung in the balance.

Tkaczyk had declared her 2012 campaign as a grassroots effort, but her cause was aided by a Political Action Committee spending nearly half a million dollars to support her through the distribution of campaign literature.

“This one will also be a grassroots campaign,” Tkaczyk said this week. “I’ll be relying on the same model I used before.”

Candidates are not allowed to coordinate with outside organizations, she said, so she does not know if any Political Action Committees will be contributing money this year.

“I wanted to announce now because the petitions are out and I wanted to let folks know that I was indeed running so they could collect signatures on my behalf,” said Tkaczyk. “I’ve already gotten a lot of support from so many people all over the district.”

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