Progressive Democrat Sarahana Shrestha won the 103rd Assembly seat Tuesday, defeating Republican Patrick Sheehan. According to the New York State Board of Elections, Shrestha won with 59 percent of the votes compared to Sheehan’s 38 percent. The 103rd Assembly District includes parts of Ulster and Dutchess counties in the Hudson Valley, including Kingston and New Paltz.
Sarahana Shrestha is a 41-year-old first-generation Nepali-American climate organizer and advocate for the working class. She is from Kathmandu, Nepal, moved to New York in 2001 and currently lives in Esopus.
She won an upset victory over longtime Assemblyman Kevin Cahill this June in the Democratic primaries and has been campaigning across the district since.
Shrestha’s progressive platform centers around universal health care, housing and the environment. As a new assemblyperson, she says she will fight to fully fund pillars like SUNY, K-12 schools and hospitals to provide essential services and fulfilling jobs. The SUNY New Paltz campus in the 103rd Assembly District, for example, faces a $4 million budget deficit and Shrestha will fight for multi-year funding increases for campus aid.
Shrestha believes in fighting for immigrant communities’ right to live without fear, especially concerning violence, abuse and deportation. She wants to pass the Coverage for All which would expand state-funded healthcare to everyone, including those who were denied help due to their immigration status. This goes along with her support for the New York for All Act, which would prohibit law enforcement from calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement or Customs and Border Patrol.
Shrestha’s full platform can be found here.
The total number of active voters for the 103rd Assembly District is 96,039. There were 127 election districts reporting. Shrestha had a Democratic voter percentage of around 49 percent and Sheehan had a Republican voter percentage of around 32 percent.
There were a total of 60,467 votes counted towards the 103rd Assembly District candidates. Of those votes, 9,044 came from Dutchess County and 51,423 came from Ulster County. Shrestha amassed 35,493 of the votes cast and 23,104 were for Sheehan. Included in the final vote total were 1,747 that were blank, nine that were voided and 114 that were write-ins.
Shrestha wrote on her Twitter after winning, “The future must be beautiful, and I am so honored to have the opportunity to build it with you.”