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Upcoming race could decide which party controls NY Senate

Bret Jaspers
Broome County Undersheriff Fred Akshar will take a leave of absence from his position while he runs for New York State Senate in the 52nd District.

There is now a Republican candidate for the New York State Senate seat formerly held by Sen. Tom Libous. Broome County Undersheriff Fred Akshar announced his candidacy today.

The race could decide which party controls the New York State Senate.

Against the backdrop of the Broome County Sheriff’s Building, Akshar talked about his 15 years in law enforcement as preparation for leadership. He explicitly mentioned the heroin epidemic as a priority, should he win the seat.

“The funding needs to come into the treatment piece,” Akshar said. “Quite frankly, we lack when it comes to treatment and prevention ...we can’t arrest our way out of this issue.

Akshar is running to replace Tom Libous, who was convicted last month of lying to the FBI.

Akshar says that ethics is a problem in Albany but emphasized the enforcement of laws already in place.

His was not one of the early names floated by people who watch regional politics. Broome County Republican Committee Chairman Bijoy Datta says Akshar’s newness is an advantage.

“We don’t want somebody who’s spent all their time up in Albany, wining and dining with lobbyists and other politicians,” Datta said. “We need new leadership and fresh ideas, and that’s exactly what Fred Akshar brings.”

The Republicans have a definite edge over the Democrats in active, registered voters in the district, which includes Broome and Tioga Counties, and parts of Chenango and Delaware Counties.

Akshar’s opponent is Democrat Barbara Fiala, the former Broome County Executive. Governor Cuomo endorsed her before she formally entered the race last week.

Election Day is November 3.