NYS Assemblyman Carrie Woerner discusses issues as she seeks re-election
New York State Congresswoman Carrie Woerner is running for re-election.
The Democrat of 113e Assembly District represented portions of Saratoga and Washington counties for four terms.
In a 2020 rematch, Woerner will face Republican Dave Catalfamo in November to represent a newly drawn district.
WAMC South Adirondack Office Chief Lucas Willard asked Woerner about the new 113e which includes parts of Saratoga and the town of Glens Falls in Warren County. We spoke just days after a mid-level court ruled that Democratic-approved Assembly Districts were unconstitutional, but will remain in place for this year’s election.
I am a kind of flower where you are planted nobody. And I honestly think that as an elected official, the job is to represent fully and to the best of your ability the 100, and in my case, the 135,000 people that I represent, no matter where they live, in what kind of community they are, how far you need to drive or how far they are from where you live. And so, so I’m going, you know, this year, I’m going to run the way the neighborhood is designed. And if in two years it’s a different set of lines, I’m going to run, and I’m going to work just as hard for those people. If, if it were up to me, I would have kept the existing neighborhood and added Glens Falls, because I’ve learned to really love all of these communities in Washington County that I no longer represent, and, and I really feel they are an integral part of Washington County’s economy. And, you know, like you…and I think Glens Falls and Saratoga Springs and then this part of Saratoga County and Washington County are all connected in one economy. So, to me, it makes sense to connect all of these communities. I would gladly have gone from 130,000 to, you know, 150,000 if I could have kept them. Then we will flourish where we are planted.
I think it should be noted that the existing 113e who’s leaving in a few months, leans Republican, and what’s usually a pretty purple quarter, but historically, I believe he’s leaned Republican. The new district leans more Democratic. The legislature drew these maps that the governor approved, which are controlled by the Democrats. So did you provide some of that input by saying, you know, “It would be nice to have Glens Falls in this district, the new 113th?”
Certainly, you know, when I was asked my opinion on what I thought of, you know, what would be an appropriate way to change…because when we looked, when we looked at the numbers, based on from the census, the existing neighborhood that I had to change, there were two there were too many people in the existing neighborhood. And because Saratoga County is the only part of New York State that has grown… So when asked if they should change district lines, what would I consider as appropriate? I said, I thought Glens Falls and Saratoga Springs, because two small towns would be well connected to each other. They both have, you know, transit. They both have transit problems, because we don’t have enough transit. There is a single economy that connects them. There are people who live in Glens Falls who work in Saratoga County. Residents of North Saratoga County tend to go to Glens Falls Hospital for their health care. So even though it’s a separate MSA, the reality is that these communities from Saratoga Springs to Glens Falls tend to… you know, there’s a blurring of lines, there’s a lot of common interest and Saratoga County goes to Glens Falls, Glens Falls enters Saratoga County. So for me, it made sense if we were to put it back together to connect these two, two cities, because there are common interests, as well as common problems.
At the end of its session, the state legislature approved a package of 10 gun reforms following the shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas. Woerner voted against a provision that raises the legal age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21. She explained why she voted against the bill eventually signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul.
There is a difference between voting on a bill and voting on a concept. So the concept, which the governor was talking about, and which she illustrated by carrying a semi-automatic assault type firearm, was that for the semi-automatic assault type rifles, we were going to raise the age of 18 to 21 years old.
And conceptually, I think that’s a smart idea. I think a lot of people have realized that young people’s brains aren’t fully developed until they reach their twenties. And so we want people who have the ability to be responsible to have guns. We want people who don’t have the ability to be responsible not to have guns, especially the type of guns that assault weapons represent.
But this is not the bill we voted on. The bill we voted on talked about semi-automatic rifles, and that term semi-automatic rifle encompasses much more than assault type weapons. It encompasses a traditional deer gun, the kind of thing that families who are in the 113e Assembly District who hunt deer every fall…they use semi-automatic deer guns.
And by semi-automatic, we mean you load two shots into the rifle. You aim, you shoot first. And then the second round is automatically chambered so you don’t have to aim again. Why is this important? The deer are moving and the sound will scare them, and it will make them move. So you want to take the second picture very soon after the first.
These are not firearms that can be modified to have a high capacity magazine. They do not have the same accelerator as assault rifles. But this term “semi-automatic rifle” includes the standard rifle that everyone uses to hunt deer. So if the bill had been drafted to say “semi-automatic assault type firearm”, I would have voted yes. But that’s not what the bill says.
And so… I don’t think that was even the intention. But that is how the bill was drafted. And as a result, it will impact hunters across the state, law-abiding citizens who are fully empowered to own, store and use firearms responsibly and to do so at all times. . And I don’t think we wanted, I don’t think we wanted to make life difficult for them. I don’t think we’re trying to punish them. But that, in my view, is what the bill did, because it did not use specific language.
Would you support amending this bill in the next session?
Absolutely. And if the godmother does not do it herself, I will introduce this bill.
The Woerner district is home to semiconductor fab GlobalFoundries, which — with the help of federal dollars — plans to build a second fab at its Malta campus, now its global headquarters.
Woerner was a co-sponsor of the Green CHIPS Act, which would provide up to $500 million in tax credits per year for 20 years to support semiconductor manufacturing.
Woerner was asked about the legislation and fears it represents a corporate giveaway voiced by some lawmakers — including Democrat Phil Steck of Neighboring 110.e District.
You know, I’ve been educating Assembly leaders for years now about what happened with the incentives that were provided to Global Foundries. And I’m not going to get the exact numbers. But they incentivize…for the incentives they got, which at the time, in the early 2000s, was advertised as probably the biggest package ever, they think they hired 1,500 jobs, and let’s say $8 billion private investments. They created 3,000 jobs and invested nearly $15 billion.
It therefore triggered more private investment and created more jobs than expected. So for the right company in the right space where we have a workforce that can do those jobs, it’s a successful combination.
And so I think the education that I gave to the leaders of the … not just the elected leaders, but also the leaders of the staff … helped them see that. And so when the opportunity arose to pass this bill, I think our house was ready to take that step, despite the fact that people were raising important questions about whether tax incentives or Tax incentives for businesses are the best use of taxpayers’ money. But I think when it comes to semiconductors, in particular, we have a great example to cite.
Woerner, whose district is largely rural, also discussed his recently approved NY Textile Act, which aims to support the upstate plant and animal textile industry in a state that includes the fashion capital of the world. – New York.
My textile bill, which I’m happy to say passed by both houses and hopefully the governor will sign off on, has no fiscal impact. All it does is integrate textiles into existing economic development, government procurement, and agricultural and market programs, to increase visibility and focus on this industry as an opportunity and industry for growth for our upstate farmers and manufacturers connected to strong fashion. industry in the city.
Although Woerner faced a repeated challenge from Dave Catalfamo this year, she had little to say about running against the Republican again this year.
I will be in the community listening to people, talking to people who are looking for solutions to the problems they identify. And that’s what I do. He will do what he will do. But I’m going to do the things my constituents have always counted on me to do and hopefully that will convince them to re-elect me.
Woerner won the 2020 race by 10 points.
To hear Catalfamo, tune in to Midday Magazine on Sunday.