NEWARK — Democrat Scott Comegys has made it official: He is running for the state Assembly’s 130th District seat again.
As happened in 2018, Comegys is expected to challenge Republican Brian Manktelow of Lyons. Manktelow, who was Lyons town supervisor at the time, handily defeated Comegys, an alpaca farmer from Palmyra who also works as a clerk in the town assessor’s office.
Manktelow recently announced he will seek another two-year term.
“Last year New York state made some successful leaps forward addressing issues of justice, social protections for LGBTQ+ rights, Women’s rights, labor rights, environmental concerns including climate change and election reforms,” Comegys said in a press release. “It was a remarkable year, and I should be happy and proud of our legislators for accomplishing so much. I am, except that the legislation, in many ways, has flaws that could be worked out with the addition of more rural perspectives working with the Assembly.”
He said those living in rural areas can provide lessons for urbanites.
“Of necessity, the people in rural New York have had to be creative innovators to use the resources around them while preserving the land that enables them to thrive,” he said. “They’ve had to pool resources to take care of their neighbors and ensure their well-being. They’ve embraced new technologies and infrastructure to connect and build communities. They’ve recognized the dignity of fellow human beings and fought to ensure their rights. In central New York, these things can be clearly seen. As you delve into our history, you find farmers working hard to grow and preserve their crops and devising new and better methods to produce and process food and other goods for their community. Our towns and villages grew, thanks to the connections made by the Erie Canal and railroads. This is where the Underground Railroad was fostered to aid the freedom of slaves and where the Women’s Suffrage movement was born.”
Comegys said it was the “prevailing attitude of possible achievement that allowed my wife, Bethany, and I to move out to Palmyra 14 years ago to start our (alpaca) farm,” he said.
He said that “every major accomplishment that the state made this past year was met with a ‘no’ vote by our current Assembly member (Manktelow).”
Comegys said Manktelow is “carrying on a tradition that our past Assembly member (Bob Oaks) dutifully carried on. It is a position that says that rural communities only want what he defines as ‘traditional conservative values’ — free enterprise, reduced government, individual responsibility and confidence in the goodwill of man. That doesn’t sound like a bad position to take and would be fine if everyone had equal opportunity to succeed, equal and fair treatment by our justice system, equal ability to live as their genuine selves without fear of discrimination, could guarantee clean air, water, and soil to live on, and had a real voice in their government to address all of the challenges that life presents us with. … That is not our reality, and the values listed tend to be used as code for business above labor, reduced regulation and protection and individual wants over community needs.”
Comegys noted that he was “the first Democratic challenger for that seat in 26 years.”