Fahy promises ‘laser focus’ on jobs in second term

The Enterprise — Melissa Hale-Spencer

Patricia Fahy beams on Election Night, a night when many Democrats found little to smile about. She cruised to a second term representing the State Assembly’s 109th District with 26,185 votes to 13,206 garnered by Republican Jesse Calhoun.

ALBANY COUNTY — Patrica Fahy sailed to victory Tuesday when many other Democrats suffered defeat.

She will start her second two-year term in the State Assembly, representing Bethlehem, Guilderland, New Scotland, and the western part of Albany, having bested newcomer Jesse Calhoun by garnering 66 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from the Albany County Board of Elections.

Calhoun, a preschool teacher and musician, had the Republican, Conservative, and Stop Common Core lines, while Fahy had backing from the Democrats and the Working Families Party.

Calhoun opposed the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013, which Fahy had voted for, and he advocated local control of educational standards.

Fahy attributes her win to her hard work on a wide variety of issues.

“I worked hard,” she said on Tuesday night. “It’s the only promise I made — to work my heart out — and I did.”

Fahy leapt into local politics in 2012 when the reconfigured 109th District’s longtime representative, Democrat John McEneny, retired. With a grassroots campaign, she easily bested her five opponents in the Democratic primary, winning 37 percent of the vote in the Democrat-dominated district before easily winning her seat in the fall election against Guilderland Republican Ted Danz.

Before moving to Albany 17 years ago, Fahy spent many years in Washington, D.C., working on Capitol Hill with labor committees and employment subcommittees, drafting legislation. In New York State, she had worked as an associate commissioner at the labor department and for the state legislature.

Tuesday night, Fahy named among her first-term accomplishments having the first bill in the legislature on trains carrying oil, an ongoing issue as railroad tracks traverse her district and tankers rest at the Port of Albany.

Fahy also said she is “hugely supportive of jobs” and has worked hard on curbing crime.

She said she has been outspoken on “a diversity of issues,” which voters appreciate.

Fahy went on to say that, from the start, her “two fundamentals have been jobs and education.” Although progress has been made in those areas, she said, more needs to be done.

In her upcoming term, which she will serve in a Democrat-controlled house, she said, “Jobs will be a laser focus of mine.” Although the economy has picked up in the Capital Region since the Great Recession, she described it as still “fragile.”

Fahy is particularly interested in “green jobs,” which, she noted, “you can’t export.”

On education, she said, “You cannot put the cost of education on property taxes.” Fahy said the state used to pay half the cost of public school education. “It used to be 50/50,” Fahy said, concluding that the larger share borne by local property taxpayers is “not right.”

Fahy also said, “I want to make sure the $4 billion from J.P. Morgan is spent right.” Last year’s landmark $13 billion settlement with the banking giant includes $4 billion worth of aid meant to help homeowners who were harmed.

Fahy listed several ways she thinks it should be put to use, including paying for local infrastructure, and weatherizing and retrofitting housing, which would create good entry-level jobs.

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