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Assembly race focuses on jobs

November 1, 2012
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

Republican Thomas Quackenbush and Democrat Angelo Santabarbara, competing against each other for election to the new 111th Assembly District, both are making job creation a priority issue in their campaigns.

Quackenbush, the supervisor for the town of Minden, and Santabarbara, a Schenectady County legislator, are running for an Assembly seat being vacated by George Amedore, who is seeking election to the state Senate.

The district, newly created under redistricting this year, will include all of Montgomery and portions of western Schenectady and northwestern Albany counties.

"Today, families in upstate New York are struggling to keep their homes. They are rethinking their futures and postponing their dreams. I believe that has to change," said Quackenbush, who also previously served as mayor of Fort Plain and an assessor.

"I'm going to say I have been working hard in my campaign and I am confident in how the election would turn out," said Santabarbara, who lives in Rotterdam and serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Autism Society of America and the Schenectady Family & Child Services.

Quackenbush said the primary issues of this campaign are job creation and getting the economy back in shape. His job plan would focus heavily on following Gov. Andrew Cuomo's regional economic development plan, deregulating small businesses and bringing mandate relief to the counties.

"The tax cap was a good start, but without mandate relief, we are floating in a sinking ship," Quackenbush said.

He said he wants to reformat the property tax law of New York state. He said the current law is outdated and does not work in every area.

Quackenbush defended himself against an accusation by Santabarbara's campaign that he voted to raise taxes and his own pay. Quackenbush said he voted to raise the pay for the mayor of Fort Plain from $3,000 to $5,000 in 1998 at a time before the economic downturn.

Quackenbush raised the question of Santabarbara creating a wage for the chairman of the Rotterdam Industrial Development Agency when he chaired it.

"If we are going to talk about someone's salary, let's talk about it all," Quackenbush said.

Santabarbara says he has a plan to stimulate local job creation.

"We desperately need more good-paying jobs in our community," Santabarbara said in a statement. "Making our area more business-friendly and helping people get back to work will be my top priority in the Assembly."

His five-point job plan would offer tax breaks for businesses that would hire new employees and unemployed workers. Santabarbara said his plan would offer a program to transition people from unemployment to work.

Second, the plan would encourage public and private cooperative efforts between

General Electric, energy companies and government to develop energy jobs in the region. Also, tax incentives would be set up for dairy farmers providing their milk for yogurt production and for farmers to convert to new crops. A plan would be established to promote food processing and packaging at places such as the Beech-Nut baby-food factory in the town of Florida.

Santabarbara has endorsed a back-to-work program focused on teaching skills to unemployed workers searching for jobs. This program would include tax incentives.

Santabarbara said the types of jobs available now require training and advanced skills.

Under programs he supports, he said positions would be filled with local residents.

"We want our local people to be considered first for these positions," Santabarbara said.

The Assembly seat carries a two-year term and has a salary of $79,500 a year.

The party lines are fairly split in Montgomery County, with 9,515 registered Democrats and 9,854 registered Republicans, according to the state Board of Elections. In the district's Schenectady and Albany county portions, Democrats outnumber Republicans. The Schenectady County portion includes 15,932 Democrats and 9,954 Republicans. The Albany County portion includes 1,690 Democrats and 731 Republicans.

Quackenbush has received more than $94,000 in contributions and has spent more than $85,000 of that, according to documents filed with the Board of Elections. Santabarbara has received more than $51,000 in contributions and has spent more than $39,000, the documents show.

Quackenbush is a business agent for Teamsters Local 294 after working for United Parcel Service for 17 years.

Santabarbara is a real-estate agent. He also an engineer.

Santabarbara owns SB Cheese Co., which donates profits to children's charities, the candidate says.

Arthur Cleveland covers Montgomery County news. He can be reached at



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