State Assembly District 109: Stark differences between incumbent Democrat Patricia Fahy and Republican Alicia Purdy

ALBANY COUNTY — Patricia Fahy, the Democrat who has represented District 109 in the State Assembly for a decade, is being challenged this year by Republican Alicia Purdy, who ran last year on the GOP line for Albany mayor.

Both the city of Albany and the newly configured 109th District are heavily Democratic.

District 109, which was reconfigured after the 2020 census, continues to cover all of New Scotland but only the southern part of Guilderland, below Route 20, which includes Altamont, and none of Bethlehem. Instead, the district now includes more of Albany, including Purdy’s home.

Both candidates live in Albany.

According to the state’s board of elections, Fahy so far has raised $177,971 through the committee “Friends of Patricia Fahy,” most of which were contributions under $1,000. The board of elections has no candidate or committee records for Purdy’s assembly race.

The two candidates have starkly divergent views on gun policies, abortion, and environmental issues. Here are their responses to Enterprise questions:



During Albany’s mayoral race last year, Alicia Purdy says she was frequently asked who won the 2020 presidential election. “I will give you the answer I give everyone …,” she told The Enterprise this week. “I accept that Joe Biden is the president, and I don’t think it matters at this point.”

She explained further, “You remember in 2000 with the pregnant chads and the dimpled chads and all? I mean, we’ve always had these conflicts in elections. My mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer that same month, the month of November 2020.”

So, Purdy said, she wasn’t concerned with the election. “I literally didn’t care. That’s the true answer.” She stressed that politicians are “human beings at the same time” and said her mother’s diagnosis “brought my life into perspective to say what really matters here is my family. They’re my number one.”

On threats to democracy, Purdy said of the United States, “We are actually a constitutional republic. And democracy is something that people will affiliate with freedom, all kinds of different freedoms. People love to talk about freedom of speech but as journalists we know there truly is actually no such thing if you really want to get technical.”

Purdy also said, “The number-one threat to democracy, no matter how we define it, is the cancelation of the voices of civil discourse … silencing the voice of dissent,” which she says the nation was founded on.

“If we are not willing to listen and confront difficult truths in a civil manner, then truly our democracy is threatened,” Purdy concluded.

Patricia Fahy said Joe Biden won the 2020 election and she is “horrified, and I don’t say that lightly, over what happened on January 6th, 2021, in terms of the stunning insurrection at our nation’s capital …. The most profound and disturbing piece of that insurrection was the fact that the US. Capitol is our beacon of democracy.”

Fahy went on, “I lay many of those problems at the feet of Donald Trump … but I also have to be fair and blame a lot of it on … the misuse and abuse of social media.”

She described legislation, not yet passed, that would require large social-media companies to better monitor and take down disinformation. Fahy stressed, “We’re not trying to impinge upon freedom of speech” and noted, “There is a fine line.”

Fahy cited the mass killings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas this year and said, “So much of that ties back to the abuse and use of social media”; she said that “red flags” need to be monitored.

“We have proudly passed some red-flag laws here in New York State,” said Fahy.

To preserve democracy, Fahy also said, it is important to practice simple civility. “I may be firm about a number of my positions but I try never to denigrate another individual,” she said.

Fahy also said, “I often tell young people, if nothing else, sign up for legitimate news. Pay for your newspaper … what you write has to be validated.”



Fahy supports the $4.2 billion environmental bond act on the November ballot while Purdy does not.

“I do believe you either pay now or you pay later,” Fahy said. She cited former governor Andrew Cuomo’s figure that, during his decade in office, the state spent over $50 billion in climate-related disasters.

“Not only do we need to be mindful of our development and how we are developing,” said Fahy, “we need to make sure that we are preventing and doing all we can to mitigate climate-related disasters.”

Most of her legislation has been climate related, said Fahy, naming bills on transportation, promoting electric vehicles and public transit. “I even have the dark-skies protection bill to help save hundreds of thousands of birds that die because of light pollution,” she said.

“My right-to-repair [bill] would save hundreds of thousands of electronics, small handheld electronics from being tossed in landfills …,” Fahy said. “I even am trying to get bills passed so that we recycle marijuana products.”

While other states have “gotten this wrong,” Fahy said, as New York is about to launch a multibillion-dollar cannabis industry, “We want to make sure that we don’t have brownouts and blackouts as a result of the huge energy use of cannabis growth as well as water use.”

Fahy is an advocate of the “30 by 30” goal of conserving 30 percent of the nation’s land and 30 percent of its water by 2030. For New York State, she said, “It’s an achievable goal.”

Purdy said, “I don’t agree that fossil fuels are the problem.”

She also said, “I don’t agree with a lot that President Joe Biden has done … We have seen more recently how harmful it has been to not only our reputation as Americans, but harmful to our economy, our gas prices, the price of everything.”

Purdy went on, “I also don’t agree that climate change is as extreme and severe as we’re being taught in the media. And so I’m not denying anything. What I’m saying is that I am de-emphasizing the harshness and the harsh realities of this dystopian future we’re often presented with regarding fossil fuels.”

Purdy sees a “beautiful irony” in electric cars “being powered by a lithium battery which is mined from the Earth.”

She went on about environmental spending, “These trillions of bazillions of dollars … As a taxpayer, I have grave concerns that that is the emphasis when we’ve got rampant poverty across the United States; we’ve got hunger and food insecurity; we’ve got sex trafficking and child abuse.”

Purdy concluded, “I am not dismissing climate and all the things our Earth needs. I fully believe in being a good steward of our Earth … However, I will always put people over the planet, actual human lives over the immediate planet.”



Purdy opposes an amendment to the state constitution that would solidify the right to abortion while Fahy supports such an amendment.

Of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, Purdy said, “I was very glad when the power to choose or not choose abortion was returned to the states, because I am actually an originalist ….People get very upset about the overturning of Roe v. Wade when that was really a misrepresentation of the facts; it returned power to the states …. I thought that was a great move.”

Purdy went on “I am a pro-life candidate. I’m a pro-life person. And I don’t believe that the way to honor a woman or women’s rights or even to encompass all of humanity and honor life is to terminate that life. … I am completely against my taxes being used in any way, shape, or form to pay for abortion.That for me is a hard no. And I would never vote for legislation that used tax dollars to pay for abortion.”

Purdy also said, “in my perspective as a Christian and as a Republican candidate for the Assembly, life begins at conception …. I believe that being pro-life is the most humanely inclusive thing you can ever do as a person.”

Purdy wrote an article called “Five Reasons Why a Christian Would Have an Abortion,” which she said was “based on my experience of being a pregnant, unwed mother when I was in college.”

She was confronted with a difficult decision, she said, as she was planning to move to Japan to teach English as a second language and wanted to be a news anchor. “I had all these things ready to go in my life … and I found myself pregnant and unmarried.

“And I learned some very hard lessons about the religious faith community and their responses to pregnancy and unwed pregnancy and I realized this is why 63 percent of women who call themselves Christians choose abortion. It’s actually an easier path oftentimes than facing the scarlet letter.”

Purdy did not have an abortion.

“I have five children and I’ve had four miscarriages,” she said. “And one of them was removed from my body via an abortion; I had a D&C,” Purdy said, referring to a dilation and curettage procedure, surgery in which the cervix is dilated so that the uterine lining can be scraped with a curette, a spoon-shaped instrument, to prevent infection or heavy bleeding.

“That is not the kind of abortion at all that's being discussed or being removed from the table …,” Purdy said. “But I have been that woman and I really think that more women like me need to speak up and say that.”

Purdy then lifted up her sleeve to display a tattoo on her forearm of nine birds in flight.

“There are nine little birdies there for my five children and the four that I lost in pregnancy,” she said. “And I put them on there because they are a testimony that, to me, all those nine lives were living beings.”

Fahy said she supports having an amendment to the state constitution to solidify reproductive rights, including abortion, for New Yorkers.

“I’m very proud we got ready for this a number of years ago … we fully supported and overwhelmingly passed a 10-point Women’s Equality Agenda,” said Fahy. “The primary piece of that was protecting women’s reproductive rights.”

She described New York as “a safe space” where “women are protected.”

With the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, a half-century of settled law was disregarded, said Fahy, terming it “going backwards.”

“These issues are not easy … these are issues that belong between a woman and her doctor …,” said Fahy. “I do think some of these are privacy issues. But the bottom line is, just as we talked about climate or education, we can’t go backwards in this country.”


Gun policies

Fahy was disturbed the Supreme Court overruled New York State’s century-old law requiring a license to carry concealed weapons in public places and supports the legislation New York adopted in response while Purdy believes the government should not “infringe upon our God-given right to bear arms.”

On guns, Fahy said, “The Supreme Court threw out our previous provisions on concealed weapons so we came back into session … the timing, on my view couldn’t have been worse,” she said of the decision, calling it a “slap in the face” to people still dealing with the massacres in Buffalo and Uvalde.

Fahy said she “fully supported” the legislation now being challenged in federal court. “This is not the Wild West,” she said, adding that licensing guns is not a lot to ask. “You need a license to drive a car. You need a license to get married.”

Being able to carry a concealed gun into a restaurant or a place of worship, “unless you are fully authorized to do so, is, again, going backwards, and it puts all of us at risk,” said Fahy.

She noted part of New York’s law reacting to the Supreme Court overturning the state’s century-old law on concealed weapons, is that “a mental-health evaluation be done and that a search of your social media be done.”

Fahy concluded, “We think these are reasonable requirements … If you are going to be carrying a weapon, we need to know a little bit about who you are.”

Purdy noted the frequency of gun violence in Albany where she lives and said, “If I were at a library or a shopping store right near my house, or If I were walking on the street or were at a park with my kids, or if I were at church on Sunday and there were a shooter in there, the first thing I would want to do is grab my gun and shoot back.

“And so I’m a big supporter of the 2nd Amendment, the right to have the government not infringe upon our God-given right to bear arms. And all you have to do is take a look at New York city. It’s like a shooting gallery down there. And one of the first things we on the Republican side point to in history is facist governments … The first step they take is to disarm their people.”

Purdy concluded, “I live in the city of Albany. I’m not in Beautiful Guilderland or New Scotland, which are areas in the 109th Assembly District. I live in downtown Albany where per capita … which means proportionally, we are on a par with the city of Chicago per capita for our shootings and homicides ….

“I really do firmly believe that one of the best ways to let people know that they’re not allowed to take my life from me is if I’m willing and ready to defend my life using any means necessary.”


Fair taxes

“There definitely needs to be some kind of an overhaul and accountability,” Purdy said of assessment standards in New York State. “And you know who’s great at that? Republicans, very fiscally conservative.”

Purdy said she pays about $8,000 annually in property taxes on her Albany home and, a couple of years ago, thought about moving a mile away on the same street, but learned the taxes would be much higher.

Purdy sees Albany as a hub where many people work and do business but live outside of the city “and don’t pay their taxes to the city.” 

She went on, “Albany has a struggling school system, terrible infrastructure … I have a grave concern about where those taxes are going and, at least in the city of Albany, they’re not producing.”

Fahy said, “I think there’s a lot of merit to a single assessment standard  …. And, yes, there are discrepancies all over.”

She noted legislation she sponsored five years ago, after some Guilderland taxpayers were “blindsided” with an unexpected increase, that would give notification if there is to be a jump.

Fahy went on, “One of the reasons we don’t have one standard is because of this home-rule issue …. The big tug of war between the state and then local control.”

She said the 2-percent tax cap that was put into place before her tenure  has “been successful in holding the line on local property taxes.” Fahy also cited the large increase in funding for public schools to shift the burden away from local property taxes to the state.

Finally, she mentioned legislation four years ago that allowed for taxes on internet purchases.


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