Cahill faces chal­lenge from for­mer town leader

Gar­diner res­i­dent Hayes seeks to un­seat long­time assem­bly­man

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Paul Kirby pkirby@free­manon­line.com paulat­free­man on Twit­ter

The race for the state’s 103rd As­sem­bly Dis­trict seat pits a vet­eran state law­maker against a for­mer Gar­diner town su­per­vi­sor.

Assem­bly­man Kevin Cahill, D-Kingston, is seek­ing re-elec­tion. Cahill, 60, was elected to the As­sem­bly in 1992, lost his seat in 1994, and was re­turned to of­fice in 1998. His chal­lenger, Jack Hayes, 73, of Gar­diner, an en­rolled Repub­li­can run­ning only on the Con­ser­va­tive line, thinks it’s time for a change.

“It ap­peared that there might not be a can­di­date to run against Kevin Cahill and that did not seem right,” Hayes

said.

The 103rd dis­trict in­cludes the Dutchess County towns of Red Hook and Rhinebeck; and in Ulster County, the city of Kingston and towns of Shan­daken, Wood­stock, Kingston, Ulster, Olive, Hur­ley, Rochester, Mar­ble­town, Rosendale, Eso­pus, New Paltz, Gar­diner and Plat­tekill.

Kevin Cahill

Cahill, a life­long Kingston res­i­dent, has the Demo­cratic, Work­ing Fam­i­lies, and In­de­pen­dence party lines on the Nov. 8 bal­lot. He says he is a non-prac­tic­ing at­tor­ney “to avoid the ap­pear­ance of a con­flict and be­cause leg­isla­tive du­ties re­quire my full time.”

A grad­u­ate of Kingston High School, SUNY New Paltz, and Al­bany Law School, Cahill is a for­mer Ulster County leg­is­la­tor. He has two grown daugh­ters.

Cahill said he helped re­form state Elec­tion Law to “as­sure ac­cess for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties,” and led an ef­fort to up­grade the state build­ing code to make ev­ery new mul­ti­fam­ily

dwelling in New York state ac­ces­si­ble.

Cahill, who has chaired the Com­mit­tee on Ethics and Guid­ance, said there “have been sev­eral mea­sures in both ethics and cam­paign fi­nance re­form over the last decade that at­tempt to raise the bar for pub­lic of­fi­cials when it comes to their be­hav­ior and in­ter­ests.”

More than a decade ago, the prac­tice of lob­by­ists buy­ing ex­pen­sive din­ners for elected of­fi­cials was banned, he said. “In fact, many of the dis­clo­sure laws put in place were the very rea­son bad be­hav­ior was de­tected in re­cent years,” Cahill said.

Steps to pro­tect vic­tims of sex­ual ha­rass­ment and pre­vent­ing hos­tile work en­vi­ron­ments have dou­bled and re­dou­bled in re­cent years, “par­tic­u­larly when that un­ac­cept­able be­hav­ior was brought into the light,” Cahill said.

He said that some loop­holes in cam­paign fi­nanc­ing laws have also been closed.

Cahill said that as chair­man of the En­ergy Com­mit­tee, he has led the state in ad­vanc­ing clean en­ergy, in­clud­ing nu­mer­ous in­cen­tives for so­lar power, and cre­at­ing thou­sands

of new en­ergy jobs.

“In ad­di­tion to the broader leg­isla­tive re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, I helped se­cure over $200 mil­lion in cap­i­tal re­sources for the im­prove­ment of SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Ulster and Dutchess Com­mu­nity Col­lege,” Cahill said. “I also brought re­sources back to the com­mu­nity for sup­port of child care, LGBTQ ser­vices, (and) in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments, in­clud­ing most re­cently the ac­qui­si­tion of a sig­nif­i­cant com­mer­cial par­cel in the Vil­lage of Red Hook.”

Cahill said he also se­cured fund­ing for the restora­tion of the Ron­d­out Creek Bridge, the Hud­son River Mar­itime Mu­seum, the Rosendale Theater Co­op­er­a­tive, and the pro­posed Ir­ish Cul­tural Cen­ter. He said he con­tin­ues to ad­vo­cate “to re­store the con­trac­tual re­la­tion­ship be­tween HealthAl­liance of the Hud­son Val­ley and Em­pire Blue Cross, and has sup­ported paid fam­ily leave, an in­crease in the min­i­mum wage, the le­gal­iza­tion of mar­i­juana for medic­i­nal pur­poses and mar­riage equal­ity.

If elected, Cahill said, he will con­tinue to fight for lo­cal ed­u­ca­tion aid

and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions, in­clud­ing a per­ma­nent ban on hy­draulic frac­tur­ing.

“It is my con­stant hope that I have rep­re­sented the peo­ple who elected me in a way that makes them proud,” Cahill said.

Jack Hayes

Hayes, a 40-year res­i­dent of Gar­diner, was town su­per­vi­sor in 2002 and 2003 and an Ulster County leg­is­la­tor in 2010 and 2011. A re­tired state trooper, he served with the state po­lice from 1968 to 2000, in­clud­ing a stint as an un­der­cover nar­cotics in­ves­ti­ga­tor, and was a se­cu­rity con­sul­tant for the New York State Bridge Au­thor­ity from 2001 to 2004.

Ar­gu­ing that the heroin epidemic is “linked ca­su­ally with the use of opi­oid drugs and pain treat­ment,” he said ma­jor drug man­u­fac­tur­ers have con­ducted a na­tion­wide lob­by­ing cam­paign of state leg­is­la­tures in an ef­fort to curb or slow leg­is­la­tion that re­stricts the abuse of pre­scrip­tion drugs.” Hayes points to a Pough­keep­sie Jour­nal ar­ti­cle that iden­ti­fied Cahill as the high­est re­cip­i­ent of do­na­tions from opi­oid man­u­fac­tur­ers, re­ceiv­ing $4,500 be­tween 2006 and

2015.

“As an ac­tive mem­ber of at least three drug abuse aware­ness projects, I am dis­ap­pointed in the ac­tions of the New York State Leg­is­la­ture,” Hayes said.

A U.S. Navy vet­eran, Hayes earned de­grees from Marist Col­lege in Pough­keepise, SUNY New Paltz, Ulster County Com­mu­nity Col­lege and SUNY Delhi. He has three grown chil­dren.

“The fail­ure of the cur­rent leg­is­la­ture to im­ple­ment ethics re­form is im­mensely trou­bling to me and core to my mo­ti­va­tion for run­ning for the As­sem­bly this year,” Hayes said. He said Cahill “is part of the prob­lem of the cul­ture of cor­rup­tion, if not by com­mis­sion than by omis­sion and fail­ure to take greater ac­tion to end it.”

He said he sup­ports term lim­its and mod­ern­iz­ing voter regis­tra­tion. He said he sup­ports cam­paign fi­nance re­form by re­duc­ing con­tri­bu­tion lim­its, more re­stric­tions on donors, and lim­its on house­keep­ing ac­count ac­tiv­i­ties and trans­fers and per­sonal use of cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions.

Hayes said health care is a top pri­or­ity, ar­gu­ing that the fed­eral plan has

failed. “There needs to be col­lab­o­ra­tion and com­pro­mise be­tween state and fed­eral of­fi­cials as to na­tional health­care pol­icy,” he said.

Hayes says he is “wary” of state sub­si­dies of en­ergy projects, given the state’s al­ready high taxes.

“New York state is los­ing busi­nesses at an alarm­ing rate,” Hayes said. “Tax­able prop­erty is com­ing off the rolls and be­ing op­er­ated by tax-ex­empt or­ga­ni­za­tions.” He said all govern­ment ju­ris­dic­tions should di­vest of real es­tate, and make lands that are agri­cul­tur­ally sound be made avail­able to “young farm­ers” at lit­tle to no cost, to in­cu­bate lo­cal farm ac­tiv­ity and pro­duce lo­cal food sources.

He sup­ports more fund­ing for the Ulster County Pub­lic De­fender’s Of­fice and a re­view of state ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing, call­ing prop­erty taxes an in­ap­pro­pri­ate source of fund­ing. “I be­lieve ev­ery tax­payer should con­trib­ute to ed­u­ca­tion with a uni­ver­sal tax. I be­lieve con­trol of schools should re­turn to com­mu­ni­ties and that ed­u­ca­tion pro­fes­sion­als should make ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy with the con­sent of the gov­erned.”

FILE

State Assem­bly­man Kevin Cahill, left, and elec­tion chal­lenger Jack Hayes

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