Assemblyman Kevin A. Cahill, D-Kingston, was elected for a seventh consecutive term after he defeated Republican opponent Peter Rooney of Highland in the election for New York’s 101st Assembly District.
Results from Ulster and Dutchess counties show the Democratic incumbent, Cahill, won 21,583 to 17,104 over Rooney, claiming nearly 56 percent of the vote.
In his previous terms in office, Cahill has been a big advocate for environment and education funding. He has served as the chair of the Assembly Standing Committee on Energy since February 2008. Cahill supports legislation funding green jobs and supports programs such as the recently passed Power Solutions Program, which provides energy subsidies to businesses and nonprofits so companies can continue to hire more employees.
Cahill also authored the Equity in Education Act, which mandates full state funding for education. Ulster County schools received $101 million in state funding from this act, and schools in his district are due for $193 million more this year. Cahill has secured $100 million in the past for modernization of SUNY New Paltz, his alma mater, and Ulster County Community College.
Despite Cahill’s long tenure as an assemblyman, Rooney managed to lead a competitive campaign for a candidate that never held public office. Rooney, a small business owner, former teacher, and buffalo rancher, received endorsements from newspapers such as the Poughkeepsie Journal and the Daily Freeman, plus the National Federation of Independent Business, a lobbying organization.
Rooney ran on the platform to fight wasteful government spending in New York and lower taxes in the process. One of his main concerns was the loss of businesses and jobs in New York state. Rooney supported job and business growth through tax cut rather than job-creations programs. He also supported gay marriage and the right to have an abortion.
Despite Rooney’s platform and endorsements, the assembly seat remained with the six-term member Cahill. However, after learning he lost the race at an Ulster County Republican Committee event on election night, Rooney remained in high spirits.
“I’m grateful for having the chance to run. People were very gracious,” he said.
“Yes, I’ll be back,” Rooney said when asked if he will run for another state or local government position. However, he said it’s too early to speculate on what that position might be in the future.