Democrat Betsy Kraat is challenging freshman incumbent Chris Tague (R,C,I) for the 102nd Assembly District.
The district includes Greene County, Schoharie County, part of Albany County, part of Columbia County, part of Delaware County, part of Otsego County and part of Ulster County.
Kraat has experience as a tenant in public housing, as well as years of social work under her belt. She became a social worker, she said, to help those in need find assistance and build sound policy to allow communities to thrive. Endorsed by the Working Families Party, Kraat is running on a progressive platform.
Kraat aims to reform the state’s cannabis policy, increase funding for education, make unionizing and collective bargaining easier, increase funding for public housing and support conversion to green energy. Her opponent, Tague, has held the seat since 2018.
Tague won the seat — which was previously held by longtime Assemblyman Pete Lopez — in a special election called by the governor in April 2018. He defeated Democrat Aidan O’Connor by about 160 votes.
After graduating from high school in 1987, Tague ran a dairy business and then sold it in 1992. From 1992 until 2017, Tague worked at Cobleskill Stone Products, eventually becoming the company’s general manager. Growing up, he said he learned about the importance of hard work and how essential small businesses are to a community.
Tague aims to lower taxes, boost agriculture, fight the heroin and opioid epidemic, secure grants for local infrastructure and support those with mental disabilities.
According to the most recent State Board of Elections numbers, the 102nd Assembly District has 29,121 active Republican voters compared to 24,524 active Democratic voters. However, the district also has 21,2523 independent voters.
This race is different from others in the past because campaigning has been made more difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both candidates have dealt with this issue by uploading numerous photos on their social media of them attending events with masks on and appropriate social distancing.
Kraat plans to win votes by focusing on health and housing issues in upstate New York. This are issues that affect multiple communities in the Catskills, she says, making it relevant to voters of the 102nd District. Kraat also believes that housing and health care will bring her the votes needed to unseat Tague. Having lived in public housing and seeing firsthand the problems surrounding it, she plans on using this experience to her advantage whilst campaigning. She is also pushing to reform health care, by supporting the New York Health Act and increased funding for mental health care and student loan forgiveness for rural medical workers.
Tague plans to use his small business background to get the votes he needs to win the race. Aside from campaigning on the promise of boosting physical infrastructure in his community, he also wants to make sure that all of his constituency has access to broadband internet. Using his background as a dairy farmer to his advantage, he is also campaigning on expanding agriculture in order to bolster District 102’s economy.
Tague’s plans to cut taxes and his work with local County Planning and the Agriculture Development Office to improve infrastructure in Schoharie won him the election back in 2018. He also worked closely over the past two years with the Legislature’s Opioid Task Force.