Saturday, July 12, 2014

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Miller vs. Lopez

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Albany/HV: Miller vs. Lopez
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Republican Pete Lopez and Democrat James Miller face off in the race for the new 102nd Assembly district. Our Maria Valvanis has more on this race.

Democrat James Miller is taking on Republican Peter Lopez for the newly formed 102nd district Assembly seat. A retired Albany police officer and Greene County native, Miller said throughout Lopez's three terms, he hasn't brought enough resources back to the area, especially following Tropical Storm Irene.

"The fact that a year later, that there's people that are still not in homes and people that still have not gotten economic relief, I'm concerned about that," Miller said.

But Lopez, whose roots are in the Village of Schoharie, said by working 16 hour days, seven days a week, he's helped bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance.

"It wasn't just a function of helping people because they're flood victims; they're my neighbors across seven counties who are struggling and deciding whether they have a future," Lopez said.

The pair agree job creation and economic development are the most important issues moving forward.

Lopez said, "We look for ways to not to just to go out and hunt for new businesses, but also look for ways to keep businesses here and expand them."

"If you can bring small businesses and medium sized businesses into the region, obviously that will provide relief on a tax level," said Miller.

Another issue the candidates don't quite see eye to eye on...

"They might not be able to work within that 2 percent tax cap, but we need really good leadership to figure out ways of helping each town and each village," Miller said.

Lopez said, "The cap is doing what it intended. It's forcing people to have an honest discussion about where are our dollars going, where are our hard earned tax dollars going?"

And each candidate says he is better prepared for the job than his opponent.

"Peter works hard, attends all the meetings, but his hands are tied in the Assembly, and he can't bring any resources to that region," Miller said.

Lopez said, "If he were paying closer attention and not just learning as he goes along through the campaign trail, and if he were truly vested in the community, he would know these issues and he would know my engagement."

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