Longtime incumbent Senator William Larkin of the 39th District (covering eastern Orange County and the towns of Marlborough and Plattekill in southern Ulster) comfortably won his Hudson Valley seat. Larkin was challenged by Democrat Councilwoman Gay Lee of Newburgh.
Larkin received 25,745 more votes than Lee. This gave Larkin 64 percent of the total vote while Lee received 27 percent. Nine percent of the votes were blank or write-in.
Lee faced an uphill battle against Larkin, the politically entrenched senator.
This is Larkin’s 35th year as a state legislator and his 12th term in the Senate.
Larkin and Lee were in clear opposition on nearly every political issue. However, immigration policy became the number one issue for the pair throughout the course of the election.
Lee ran her campaign in support of the New York Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act is designed to provide conditional permanent residency to certain morally sound undocumented immigrants. Additionally, the bill would function to help pay for the education of undocumented aliens who are qualified under the proposed law’s given criteria.
Larkin strongly opposes the DREAM Act. In an interview with The Legislative Gazette on Oct. 22, Larkin discussed his plan to shift focus away from the DREAM Act and place it on turning illegal aliens into taxpaying United States citizens. He suggested using the renovated Newburgh Armory as space for citizenship tests and educational workshops.
Larkin’s plan may prove to cause frictions with the newly re-elected Gov. Andrew Cuomo. In his acceptance speech, Cuomo listed passing the DREAM Act as one of his goals for his upcoming term in office.
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