As dysfunctional as Albany can be at times, there are some New York officials in whom we can have confidence. One example is Pete Lopez, a Republican from Schoharie seeking a fourth term in the iText ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/SolidText ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/Solid$ID/NothingText ColorText Color$ID/NothingText ColorText Colorn the New York State Assembly’s new 102nd District.
One of the most common tropes tossed around by politicians in an election year is that they are primarily motivated by the concerns of their constituents, and not political gain. But this is more than just a cliché for Lopez, as shown by his conduct in office during a trying time for his district.
It’s hard to think of any area official who had more on his plate in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee last year than Lopez, whose district included the still-recovering Greene County town of
“For those of us who lived through this, it’s like a year of our lives has been ripped away from us,” Lopez said in August, one year after the storm. “As far as the community goes, my sense is people are determined to rebuild. We have to be deliberate and continue. It’s a test of endurance. We are seeing progress, but a number of folks are still suffering.”
Lopez’s oddly drawn district also included a narrow corridor extending westward to Sidney, the hard-hit Delaware County town that faced the potential loss of nearly 1,000 jobs when aerospace manufacturer Amphenol’s facility sustained major damage. Lopez’s tireless advocacy for his district included securing enough state aid to make it worthwhile for Amphenol to rebuild instead of moving.
After asking Lopez a few general questions about politics, one might struggle to pin down his party affiliation because he’s one of that rare, dying species: the thoughtful moderate. Ask him directly, and he’ll tell you that he’s a conservative Republican because he believes in low taxes and limited government. But Lopez is also an ardent backer of alternative energy — ask him about his biodiesel-powered Jeep — who has a nuanced view on the government’s role in economic development.
Lopez’s opponent, retired Albany Police officer Jimmy Miller, is a likeable and sincere challenger. He argues correctly that as a Democrat he might be better positioned than Lopez to curry favor in the Democrat-dominated Assembly, but Lopez has a record of producing results and has worked meticulously to build a rapport with his constituents.
Lopez has been described in our newsroom as a “hustler” — in the sense of a scrappy athlete who wins with energy and tenacity. As a rare bright spot in our dank, squalid state Legislature, he deserves another term.