Longtime central New York assemblyman's seat opening
Assemblyman Bob Oaks (R-Macedon), who has represented Wayne County and parts of Cayuga and Oswego counties for 26 years, is retiring, and the vacancy is attracting familiar candidates.
Oaks was first elected to the Assembly in 1992 and rose through the ranks of the GOP, eventually becoming the ranking minority member of the Assembly's Ways and Means Committee that oversees fiscal policy. In a statement, the Republican said he wants to spend more time with his grandchildren and pass on the torch.
"Five Governors (Mario Cuomo, George Pataki, Elliott Spitzer, David Patterson and Andrew Cuomo) and three Assembly Speakers (Saul Weprin, Sheldon Silver and Carl Heastie) later, it is time for someone younger to challenge the status quo and stand up for small businesses and small communities that are so important to the fabric of our area of upstate New York," Oaks said in his statement.
Brian Manktelow, supervisor of the town of Lyons in Wayne County, hopes to be that champion. The farmer and Army veteran ran for the Republican nomination for state senate in 2016, but lost out to now State Sen. Pam Helming. Manktelow says he wants to reduce government and taxes like the town of Lyons did when they absorbed the village of Lyons during his tenure.
"Whenever we can get rid of any government especially big government, I think our people thrive,” Manktelow said. “And what we’ve seen here in the last couple of years – people are buying the houses that were for sale, people are fixing their houses up, the businesses are adding on."
Democrat Scott Comegys, a clerk with the town of Palmyra's assessor's office and alpaca farmer, is also running for the seat. He unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic ticket in the 24th Congressional District earlier this year.
Comegys says if elected he would fight for a single-payer health care system and policies to strengthen the public education system.
“I want to try to get the government back to being more effective and being more of a benefit to all of the people and encouraging progress and prosperity,” Comegys said.