Voters in the slightly redesigned 127th Assembly District must choose between a seven-term incumbent and a political newcomer in this year’s election.
The 127th District includes the city of Clay, where Micron will invest $100 billion over the next 20 years in its semiconductor facilities. Holder Al Stirpe sponsored the Green CHIPS Act, which helped attract the company to central New York. Stripe has now said the region and state are ready for the real estate boom the microchip company will produce.
“There must be incentives for these developers to build affordable housing,” said Stripe. “Everyone wants to build luxury housing, and luxury housing is great, but there are a lot of people who don’t fall into the luxury category.”
Stirpe adds that the state will also be involved in transportation infrastructure to deal with increased traffic caused by the construction and operations of the plant. GOP challenger Karen Ayoub said education will also be key to building the workforce.
“Bringing our children into the classroom with a focus on core academics, STEM programs,” Ayoub said. “When Micron arrives, it’s [a] very exciting time. There is a lot of work to be done, a lot of catching up to do to ensure that our children are ready for the future.
Ayoub also wants to ensure that Micron and the state meet its benchmarks and receive $10 billion in incentives under the green chip legislation.
“We need to have benchmarks for everything from transportation to making sure Micron meets the environmental standards it has set; that our children go to school and learn”, Ayoub said. “We need to set benchmarks throughout the process and make sure we all respect that. Keep in touch with community residents to see what their concerns are, try to resolve issues proactively rather than waiting for ‘a problem is a problem.’
Ayoub said she was convinced that Micron could benefit the region as much as the company promoted it. While all eyes are on the chipmaker, Stirpe said he was proud to have helped small businesses during the pandemic as chairman of the small business committee. As of now, Stripe said the Covid Recovery Grant Program has provided $865 million in assistance.
“95% of that went to micro businesses with 10 employees or less and that was kind of our goal because the federal P3 program had taken care of the large and medium-sized businesses pretty well,” said Stripe. “But a lot of micro businesses don’t have the human resources to fill the demands. There’s a whole bunch of reasons why they kind of fell through the cracks,” he says.
Stirpe estimates that about 42,000 businesses have received an average of $19,000 in assistance through the program. But Stirpe fears those and other efforts are being ignored due to the plethora of political ads targeting him and other Democrats in Albany.
“They’re all negative and they’re all saying they’re going to do these things, which, if you look very closely, we’ve already done,” Stirpe said. “This year, we had a $2.2 billion property tax rebate program that granted homeowners with adjusted gross income less than $250,000 between $400 and $960. It’s a very good check. We eliminated the sales tax on gasoline.
Still, Ayoub said not enough was being done and voters were growing increasingly frustrated with what was happening in the state.
“I watch our state get so expensive that people leave,” Ayoub. “I’m concerned about the number of people leaving and we’re losing our tax base. There seems to be a lack of understanding about that in much of Albany right now.”
The redesigned 127th Ward covers the towns of Clay, Cicero, Manlius and now Cazenovia and no longer includes Lafayette, Pompey or Tully.
Early voting is underway in Onondaga County at 10 locations through Sunday. Election day is November 8.