Two Dems set to challenge Amedore but his office mum on whether he’ll run

Michelle Hinchey

Michelle Hinchey

Michelle Hinchey of Saugerties announced Sunday she has formed a committee to explore a run for State Senate.

She and Democrat Jeff Collins assume their rival will be the incumbent Republican senator, George Amedore, a wealthy builder from Rotterdam.

But on Monday, when asked if Amedore will run for re-election in 2020, Eileen Miller, director of communications for Amedore, only repeated these two sentences: “We haven’t made any formal announcements. We still have another legislative session to go.”

Amedore had served for six years in the State Assembly until 2012 when he ran to represent the newly-drawn 46th District, constructed by the then-Republican-dominated Senate.

The district stretches 140 miles, encompassing all or parts of five counties — all of Greene and Montgomery counties and parts of Albany, Schenectady, and Ulster counties. (The district includes all or part of these towns in Albany County: Guilderland, New Scotland, Coeymans, and the Hilltowns of Berne, Knox, Rensselaerville, and Westerlo.)

Amedore lost that 2012 race by the slimmest of margins to Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk, a sheep farmer from Duanesburg who now runs a yarn shop in Guilderland. He beat Tkaczyk in a rematch in 2014 and has held the seat since.

Amedore was an outspoken opponent of a ban to be implemented on outside pay for state legislators, which in June was struck down in state Supreme Court, the lowest level of New York’s three-tiered system.

“Pat Strong started late,” said Collins of the Democrat from Kingston who was defeated by Amedore in 2018.

“It’s a big district. By starting early, I want to get to know people and build support,” Collins told The Enterprise on Friday evening before going to a series of kick-off events.

Hinchey’s opening release was aimed at Amedore, citing his votes against making the property tax cap permanent, his opposition to record public-school funding, and his “extremist” position on women’s health rights. She told The Enterprise, “He is not representing working families.”

“As a young woman,” said Hinchey, who is 31, “I believe women’s rights are completely important … He voted against the reproductive health act and against equal pay.”

Hinchey, daughter of the late Maurice Dunlea Hinchey, who served in Congress for two decades, told The Enterprise, “I grew up seeing firsthand what hard work, dedication, and compassion can do to make meaningful impact in people’s lives … It’s important for me to give back to the community.”

If elected, Hinchey, said one of her top priorities will be to improve public schools.  She attended public schools in Saugerties before graduating from New York’s Industrial and Labor Relations School at Cornell University.

“We had garbage cans collecting water,” Hinchey said of leaks in her Saugerties public school, as she made an argument for more funding for public schools. She went on, “We need mental-health programs … We need to make schools a place where students can be successful.”

Hinchey, who has worked in technology and media, is also interested in environmental issues. She is on the board of directors of the Catskill Center and has worked with Environment NY to ban fracking.

Additionally, Hinchey said, “Long-term care for me is on the top of the list.” Her father was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia and needed long-term home healthcare. He died in 2017 at the age of 79. “We saw firsthand the toll that takes … That it’s not covered by insurance is baffling,” said Hinchey.

Asked why she formed a campaign committee rather than just jumping into the race, Hinchey said, “It’s an incredibly diverse district … [with] a lot of challenges.” Beyond knowing what she thinks is important, Hinchey said, “It’s important to meet people and hear what their challenges are. I want to hear first hand so I can be better prepared.”

More Regional News

  • Forty-three states are now on the travel advisory list. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut also meet the criteria but are not on the list — “It would have a disastrous effect on the economy,” says the governor. However, non-essential travel to those states is discouraged.

  • “We’re playing Whac-A-Mole with the micro-clusters,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday. “You get a micro-cluster that flares up, we attack it, more restrictions, it drops, another micro-cluster pops up and what we’re seeing obviously nationwide is a very threatening rate of increase, and so far, knock wood, New York has defied that rate of increase.”

  • The White House responded today to yesterday’s request from the National Governors Association to

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.