Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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Farley vs. Savage for the 44th Senate District

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Albany/HV: Farley vs. Savage for the 44th Senate District
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It's a case of old versus new in the race for the Senate seat in the 44th District. The race pits a deep-seeded incumbent against a relative newcomer. Erin Connolly reports.

SCOTIA, N.Y. -- Republican Senator Hugh Farley has served the 44th District for the last 34 years.

Looking to break that streak is the chair of the Schenectady County Legislature, Democrat Susan Savage.

It's been a contentious race marked by political attack ads and face to face attacks.

''Senator Farley came right out of the box with some very negative attacks," said Savage. "Negative and misleading attacks on my record and even on my family.''

''This has kind of been a mean and nasty campaign, and it's not one I've normally been involved in. I don't like that part of it. It's unpleasant,'' said Farley.

Savage has called out Senator Farley for voting to increase taxes 680 times. The three-decade incumbent says he has voted for more tax cuts, than tax increases.

Another point of contention: what to do about Medicaid. Savage wants the state to take it over. Farley does not.

He said, ''We don't need anymore burdens, and the reality of that is unrealistic. Anyone who knows anything about anything...it's been said a pig would fly first before that would happen.''

''A big part of the problem is having elected officials saying, oh that's never going to happen," said Savage. "That means you're a part of the problem and not a part of the solution."

Savage has touted her fresh faced approach saying she has not only created 3,500 private sector jobs, but has also helped bring $400 million in new investment to Schenectady County. The chair there since 2004, has also cut property taxes four out of the last six years.

She said, ''This was a community that was very hard hit for a long time economically. And we've shown by working together we can rebuild a community that was really struggling.''

Senator Farley says he has also revitalized downtown Schenectady by making it the headquarters of four state agencies. As far as legislation goes, the 18-term senator has authored laws benefiting seniors including the nation's first hospice law and a law banning mandatory retirement. Farley has also been instrumental in passing laws dealing with banking regulation and environmental issues.

''I've been very thrilled how people have supported me, and I've been able to accomplish quite a few things, and some of my legislation over the years have been rather significant, and I'm proud of that,'' he said.

And while this pair can't seem to agree on much, they both say, if elected, they're ready to serve the constituents of the 44th District.

''I've enjoyed campaigning, and I've enjoyed the people and the issues around the district. And I'm ready to go to work,'' said Savage.

''I'm proud of my record and I'm running on it and I think I've served with honor and integrity over 34 years and I'd like to continue to do that.''

Now on this Election Day, we're just hours away from hearing whether voters said "out with the old in with the new" or whether they preferred to stick with the familiar.

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