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The Berkshires

Whalen, Steck battle for new 110th Assembly district

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Albany/HV: Whalen, Steck battle for new 110th Assembly district
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The newly re-drawn 110th state Assembly district features some new borders, new constituents and it needs a new leader now that Bob Reilly's retiring after eight years in the Assembly. Our Solomon Syed has more on the contentious race to replace him, between Jennifer Whalen and Phil Steck.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Following this year's re-districting plan, portions of the 109th Assembly seat, and the old 110th, merged to become the new 110th Assembly district. It now covers Colonie, Niskayuna and the eastern portion of Schenectady. It also needs a new representative.

"I have the experience necessary to confront the issues," said Democratic candidate Phil Steck. The veteran litigator has served four terms as one of the most influential Democrats on the Albany County legislature.

Meanwhile, his Republican opponent, Jennifer Whalen, has been touting her experience as a former state assistant attorney general. "I want to make New York a better, more affordable place to live for Capital Region families," said Whalen.

Whalen pushed the popular Bob Reilly to the limit on election night in 2010, with both candidates congratulating each other for running a cordial campaign.

This battle has been anything but congenial, with both Whalen and Steck filing unfair practices complaints against one another.

"For someone to put out a piece in the mail that said I was for overcrowded classrooms when my mother was a school teacher, that was ridiculous," said Whalen.

The mailer Whalen refers to accuses the current real estate attorney of favoring education cuts. Steck based this claim off answers Whalen provided in a survey for Project Vote Smart back in 2010. The organization, itself, says the ad "deliberately deceives voters."

However, Steck stands by the mailer "110 percent," and says Whalen has distorted his record in the county legislature. Whalen also skipped one of their scheduled debates to protest the mailer.

"One campaign is coming out with solutions on issues, the other campaign is strictly negative," said Steck.

"I can play tackle football, but if you have guys on the field with knives, what are you gonna do," said Whalen.

Truth is, both candidates want to make cuts in the legislature.

"We have the highest tax burden in the nation, and if we have these rankings, no one is going to come here and create jobs for us," said Whalen.

"Unlike other states, New York forces the counties to pay half the state's share of Medicaid," said Steck. "We have struggled with the problems created by the government of the state of New York."

Old challenges that will be tackled by a new leader, after Election Day.

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