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The 127th Assembly District covers six towns on the eastern side of Onondaga County in central New York. In 2014, incumbent Democrat Al Stirpe faced off against Republican challenger Rob DeMarco in one of the most competitive state legislative races in the region.0000017a-3c50-d913-abfe-bd54a88a0000This year, Onondaga Country Republicans have unified in an effort to win the seat. After a divisive primary between Vince Giordano and Michael Becallo, Giordano won the right to put his name on the ballot come November by just 40 votes.In one of the few state races this year with a challenger, incumbent Democrat Al Stirpe goes up against Republican challenger Vicent Giordano.You can hear a conversation between the two candidates for the 127th Assembly District on the Campbell Conversations.

In CNY Assembly race, Stirpe touts small business advocacy, Venesky against bail reform

Assemblyman Al Stirpe, Venesky for Assembly Facebook
Assemblyman Al Stirpe and Republican Assembly candidate Mark Venesky.

Democratic Assemblyman Al Stirpe is being challenged by former Cicero Town Supervisor Mark Venesky in Tuesday’s election. Stirpe is focused on how he’s helped small businesses during the pandemic. Venesky, a Republican, said the Democrat-led Legislature is not listening to central New Yorkers. 

Stirpe is the chair of the Small Business Committee and said they held six public hearings during the pandemic to hear how businesses have been struggling. He said he's been advocating on their behalf.

“Whether its florists, dental offices, gyms, music halls, all sorts of different businesses that have really been hurt by the pandemic,” Stirpe said. “I think we’ve been successful. We’ve moved lots of these forward, even though they have taken longer than most people have wanted.”

Venesky, Stirpe's challenger, said more money from the budget should be allocated to small businesses, law enforcement and the most vulnerable and less towards things like climate change or new equipment. The state is facing a $14.5 billion budget deficit with no sign of help from the federal government.

“These people, including my opponent, are just waiting for the government to wave a magic dollar wand to fix things, and I just don’t think that’s going to happen,” Venesky said.

Stirpe said the state is going to have to wait longer to see if help is coming.

“Then after that, we’re going to have to look at making cuts and raising revenue,” he said.

He gave concrete examples of how to raise revenue. He’s in favor of selling licenses for mobile betting and casinos in New York City, a stock transfer tax, a pied-à-terre tax, and a tax on the super-rich, as long as it expires after two years. Venesky is against taxing the rich more.

“You need to incentivize people to stay here in New York State, not bail out of New York State,” Venesky said.

Venesky is critical of the state budget process, which he said buries in legislation that would not have passed otherwise. He would repeal bail reform, and said taking away judicial discretion to set cash bail is unconscionable. Stirpe admitted they had to make changes to bail reform, but thinks it’s in a good place, now.

The 127th Assembly District covers the eastern part of Onondaga County.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.