Democrats sprint for 102nd Assembly seat

HILLTOWNS — Democrats in the 102nd Assembly District will have plenty of choice in that party’s primary, with three candidates seeking the party’s endorsement so far. 

Hébert Joseph of Rensselaerville, Mary Finneran of Cairo, and Janet Tweed of Delhi are all hoping to secure the Democratic line in November against Assemblyman Chris Tague, a Republican from Schoharie who was first elected in 2018. 

The 102nd Assembly District encompasses all of Greene and Schoharie counties, along with parts of Albany, Otsego, Ulster, and Delaware counties, and is primarily rural. In Albany County, it includes the towns of Coeymans, Berne, Knox, Rensselaerville, and Westerlo.

In the 2020 presidential election, 57.5 percent of the district’s voters cast their ballot for Republican Donald Trump, with only 42.5 percent voting for Democrat Joe Biden. 

Tague was previously challenged in the 2022 election by Democrat Nicholas Chase, who at that time was a substitute teacher in Schenevus, with Tague winning 64-percent of the vote. He also successfully defended his seat from Democrat Betsy Kraat in 2020, winning 65 percent of the vote.

Tague frequently campaigns on agricultural issues, in addition to broader Republican platforms like crime reduction. 



Mary Finneran is a retired art teacher and “environmental and social justice advocate,” according to a press release she sent out this week. 

She told The Enterprise this week that she has been an active union member as both a welder and a teacher, having been especially active the past 15 years while she was teaching at the Coxsackie-Athens Central School District. She also was an elected member of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter’s executive committee.

Finneran hopes to represent the 102nd District as a member of the Assembly’s majority party, believing that it would put her in a better position than Tague to pass legislation. 

She is concerned about healthcare equity, preparation for the adverse effects of climate change, and maintaining clean water and air. 

Shortly before speaking with The Enterprise on Tuesday, Finneran had been lobbying in Albany for a ban on carbon-dioxide fracking, she said. 

Finneran has been endorsed by the Working Families Party, along with the New York Progressive Action Network, with which she’s been affiliated through its Greene County chapter. 

Finneran said in her release that she is “compelled to run” by the “strong support I have, the many concerns and needs of the district’s people and the regional beauty we so want to preserve.”

“It’s needed,” she told The Enterprise. “Some people were saying nobody’s going to run against him, and I was asking people to run against him, and everybody says ‘Oh, no, it’s too much’ … I’ve got the energy, I’ve been lobbying, I’ve been looking at legislative bills for a long time now, and I think I could do it. I think I would be a good candidate.”



Hébert Joseph is currently the chairman of the Rensselaerville Democratic Committee. While no stranger to local politics, this will be his first run for statewide office. He most recently attempted to unseat Albany County Legislator Chris Smith in the county’s 39th Legislative District. 

Joseph, who was struck from the Democratic line after Smith challenged his nominating petitions, received only 542 votes to Smith’s 1,478 — a 46-point difference. 

Joseph campaigned in that race primarily on his belief that Smith was not active enough in his role. Joseph said that he is a highly visible member of the rural Hilltown community. 

Originally from Haiti, Joseph wrote in a candidate statement for the Schoharie County Democrats — which he also sent to The Enterprise — that he has lived his American Dream and feels “it is important for me to do more for people, especially those who don’t have that privilege.”



Janet Tweed has been a member of the Delhi Village Board since her appointment in 2022, and was previously an elected member of the Delhi Town Board from 2018 through 2021. 

A physical therapist by profession, Tweed invested herself in politics during the 2016 election, according to her statement, working as an election worker and inspector. The outcome of the election prompted her to run for local office, the statement says.

“I have seen what motivated individuals and groups can do to improve their communities and the region,” she told The Enterprise in an email. “I have been able to collaborate with municipal, private groups and non-profit organizations to improve my community and am looking for a way to broaden that effect to the larger region of the Assembly District. This district has many strong people, I am looking to make us stronger.”

Tweed claims credit for establishing “clean energy and climate-smart programs and initiatives in the village,” according to her statement to the Schoharie County Democrats, in addition to serving a “critical role in the completion of the long-planned Delhi Town Pool.”

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