In a seat long held by Republican Bob Oaks of Macedon, the race for the 130th State Assembly District this year features incumbent Republican Brian Manktelow of Lyons facing a challenge from Democrat Scott Comegys of Palmyra. It is a rematch of the 2018 race.
The 130th District includes all of Wayne County and the Cayuga County towns of Cato, Conquest, Ira, Sterling, Victory, Aurelius, Brutus, Mentz, Montezuma and Sennett.
Manktelow served as Lyons town supervisor and as a member of the Wayne County Board of Supervisors before making the jump to state office in 2018. He also will be on the Conservative and Independence Party lines.
Comegys also will be on the Save America Movement (SAM) Party line.
“I loved everything about farming and owning my business. For the past two years as Assemblyman, I feel the same about this job,” Manktelow said. “I am running for a second term because I want to continue to ask what I can do to further the lives of individuals that I serve.”
He said one goal when taking office was to listen to what residents feel is most important to them.
“I have heard many things the past two years, but the most recurring issues are agriculture, broadband internet, veterans and a stable state budget,” he said.
Manktelow said agriculture is the backbone of the local economy. As a farmer for many years, he said he wants to give farmers the latitude they need to operate while reducing state red tape, allowing the ag sector to grow. He said he will work public and private agencies to direct funding that promotes sustainable agriculture for big and small farms and to promote startup agriculture operations.
On the pandemic, Manktelow said the state initially handled the crisis well. He said rather than put blame on the state’s response, “we need to come to the table, discuss what is working, take responsibility for those decisions and work toward solutions.”
On police reform, he said Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered reform and reinvention groups to form, get public input and make recommendations.
“I believe that for our area, plans should include funding for provisional services to enhance and aid the officers. We need to consider reform for handling the mentally ill, those suffering from substance abuse and ways to increase cultural competency,” he said.
Comegys said he is running to “be a more effective voice for our communities and to work in partnership with our state government instead of opposing the majority of that work.”
“I will ensure that upstate rural values of community, innovation and stewardship and our perspective of practical idealism is included in the work that our state government does in Albany so we can learn from the challenges we face as a society and enable everyone in our community to live genuinely with success, harmony, unity and prosperity,” he said.
Comegys said he sees the most important issue as a budget crisis that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic. He said there are six measures to take immediately to raise revenue that do not add more burden to working and middle class families and maintain services. He said they are: raising taxes on the ultra wealthy; increasing efficiency in services; making sure all have access to health insurance; connecting to high-speed internet through good broadband connection; fully funding the educational system; updating the power grid; and encouraging new agricultural businesses such as industrial hemp.
“The state has reacted admirably in the face of adversity with COVID-19, making tough decisions necessary to protect public health and safety, keep up to date on science and medicine discoveries to learn more about the virus and keep communication flowing in a chaotic time,” Comegys said.
He said the lack of a national plan has made the state’s job more difficult.
On police reform, Comegys said the state is right to listen to people that have been oppressed for too long while, at the same time, working at ways that will actually support law enforcement efforts by healing relationships with the community and focusing on an emergency response on justice.
“There has to be recognition that supporting the lives of people of color and supporting the efforts of law enforcement are not mutually exclusive concepts,” Comegys said.