Co­hoes GOP fa­vors nurse for va­cant seat

Repub­li­can, Demo­cratic rec­om­men­da­tions to be voted on by leg­is­la­ture

Albany Times Union (Sunday) - - AROUND THE REGION - By Amanda Fries

Repub­li­cans in Co­hoes are rec­om­mend­ing a 33-year-old nurse from the city to fill the seat of Ralph Sig­no­racci, who re­signed as an Al­bany County leg­is­la­tor late last year to take a job with the county comp­trol­ler.

Cassandra Horn, who was raised in Co­hoes and grad­u­ated in 2003 from Co­hoes High School, was nom­i­nated by the city’s Repub­li­can Com­mit­tee to be con­sid­ered by the county leg­is­la­ture to fill the empty seat in Dis­trict 17, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease.

Sig­no­racci, a Demo­crat, re­signed as leg­is­la­tor to be­come di­rec­tor of mu­nic­i­pal af­fairs for county Comp­trol­ler Michael Con­ners. He also re­signed as Co­hoes’ di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions.

The move comes at a time when he and Co­hoes Mayor Shawn

Morse are be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the FBI for the han­dling of Morse’s cam­paign funds. Sig­no­racci was Morse’s trea­surer.

“There are dark clouds over Co­hoes in the press right now, and I be­lieve Cassandra is who the city needs rep­re­sent­ing it at the leg­is­la­ture dur­ing this tu­mul­tuous time,” said leg­isla­tive Mi­nor­ity Leader Frank Mau­riello in the re­lease. “She has made a ca­reer out of com­pas­sion and car­ing for oth­ers as a nurse, and I truly be­lieve she’ll bring those same skills to the county leg­is­la­ture.”

Late Mon­day, Co­hoes Democrats an­nounced they were rec­om­mend­ing Van Schaick Is­land Neigh­bor­hood Watch Group leader Tom Mc­grath, who city com­mit­tee Chair­man Gil Ethier, a county leg­is­la­tor, said wouldn’t be look­ing to fill the seat per­ma­nently.

County leg­is­la­tors are up for re­elec­tion this year, and any ap­point­ment would be to ful­fill the rest of Sig­no­racci’s term that ends at the end of the year.

Horn said she’s in­ter­ested in seek­ing elec­tion for the seat in Novem­ber.

The County Leg­is­la­ture must fill va­can­cies within 40 days of a res­ig­na­tion, and typ­i­cally have de­ferred to lo­cal po­lit­i­cal par­ties to make rec­om­men­da­tions they then vote on to fill the seat. Sig­no­racci re­signed Dec. 27, which would sug­gest an ap­point­ment must be made by Feb. 5 (count­ing week­ends).

Horn earned her bach­e­lor of sci­ence in nurs­ing from Rus­sell Sage Col­lege, and worked at Al­bany Med­i­cal Cen­ter Hos­pi­tal through­out col­lege. She worked at the lo­cal hos­pi­tal for 10 years, and cur­rently works as a reg­is­tered nurse case man­ager for An­them In­sur­ance in Al­bany.

“I ap­pre­ci­ate the op­por­tu­nity the Mi­nor­ity Con­fer­ence is giv­ing me to show the res­i­dents of Co­hoes, my neigh­bors, that there are other peo­ple who care about our city and who are will­ing to step up into a po­si­tion of lead­er­ship,” Horn said. “It’s time for a fresh per­spec­tive and voice that is ac­count­able solely to the cit­i­zens, rather than well­con­nected in­sid­ers.”

Lead­ers of both the city Repub­li­can com­mit­tee and the Al­bany County Repub­li­can Com­mit­tee said that they seek to change the dy­namic of one-party rule, and pro­vide a choice.

“She is a qual­i­fied pro­fes­sional in­vested in our com­mu­nity who rec­og­nizes the mes­sage we have tried to bring to our neigh­bor’s doors in the last two years, which is that for too long there has been a lack of choice,” said city com­mit­tee Chair­man Christo­pher Davis. “That ends in 2019.”

Ethier said Mc­grath was rec­om­mended be­cause of the time crunch and en­sured con­stituents in the dis­trict would have a voice while giv­ing the op­por­tu­nity for those in­ter­ested in seek­ing elec­tion to be heard by com­mit­tee mem­bers and the com­mu­nity.

Chris­tine Bene­dict, chair of the county Repub­li­can com­mit­tee, said Co­hoes has been al­most ex­clu­sively rep­re­sented by male Democrats for some time.

“If the leg­is­la­ture is as com­mit­ted to the fu­ture of Co­hoes as Cassandra has proven she is, they will vote in her fa­vor,” Bene­dict said.

Horn will be ad­dress­ing the county Leg­is­la­ture on Mon­day,

Jan. 14 dur­ing its reg­u­lar monthly meet­ing.

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