Voters in the 120th State Assembly District are likely to have only one choice in the fall 2014 election: Incumbent William Barclay, R-Pulaski.
In an interview in early April, Barclay said he is running for re-election. “I’d like to still continue doing it. I still have a passion for this area. I’m still concerned for the area,” he said.
So far he has no contender. The deadline to apply for candidacy is in the summer of 2014. The election is on Nov. 4, 2014.
He hasn’t thought too much about this year’s campaigns but plans to think more about it in the summer, Barclay said. The issues he might highlight in his campaign, he said, would depend partly on what the opponent brings into his or her campaign. He will reflect issues he and his district are concerned with, he said.
In 2012, Barclay also ran unopposed. Assembly members serve two-year terms.
The 120th State Assembly District was formerly the 124th State Assembly District. The newly named district includes counties of Oswego, Jefferson, and Onondaga.In the 120th State Assembly District, Republicans have a strong advantage in voter registration. Of the district’s 84,364 registered voters, 26 percent — or 21,575 – are Democrats; and 45 percent – or 37,610 – are Republicans, according to the New York State Board of Elections.
Barclay grew up in a political family. His father is Hugh Douglas Barclay, a former U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador. William Barclay was first elected to the State Assembly in 2002. He owns a Syracuse law firm, called Hiscock and Barclay. He is a graduate of St. Lawrence University and the Syracuse University College of Law.
He is a member of the Oswego Bar Association; the Northern Oswego Country Health Services; and the SUNY Oswego College Council, a membership position to which he was appointed by Gov. George Pataki, a Republican. He was also honored in the Oswego County Business Magazine’s “Forty under 40.”
Among Barclay stances on key issues are the following:
- Economy: “Because New York is a high cost of doing business state, we have not done a good job to expand the businesses that we have here to make up for the loss of jobs nor have we done a good job of getting new types of jobs,” Barclay said. He adds that his district is heavily dependent on manufacturers, which became an economic problem when many of the manufacturers left the district.
- Education: Schools in his district depend on local property tax and state aid. Since the local property tax is low they heavily depend on state aid. However, the 2008 financial crises burden meant less state aid and, Barclay said, he has been working to get more money for the schools.
- Property Tax: He hopes to keep it low, he said.
“Barclay seems like he is doing a reasonable job representing the people of his district. He is serving as deputy minority leader in the assembly, I think, so he is seen as having some leadership skills by other members of the Republican party,” Kristi Andersen, a political scientist at Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, said in an email interview. Having no opponent may give Barclay more liberty in running his campaign and representing his district, she said.
But, Andersen said, there are still other aspects he may consider. “If he runs without an opponent, one challenge is getting people out to vote and getting constituents engaged with issues he cares about,” Andersen said.
The Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, or commonly known as the SAFE Act, is a matter that he’ll consider adding to this year’s campaign, Barclay said.
That could be an important issue for Barclay, said SU political scientist Grant Reeher. “My sense is that the act is not popular in his district, among much of the population, as well as local law enforcement. I would think he is referring to some planned efforts to roll-back certain aspects of it,” Reeher said in an email interview. “He has staked out a position of what I would term ‘reasonable resistance’ to the law. He does not come across as an extremist on the gun rights side of the issue, but rather focuses on some of the problems with enforcement, the inconsistencies, and the parts that he argues go too far toward greater regulation.”
In 2012, Barclay’s biggest campaign contributor was his law firm, Hiscock and Barclay, with a total of $4,450, according to the website Follow The Money of the National Institute on Money in State Politics, a non-partisan organization that tracks campaign money. His second-largest contributor was the New York State Trial Lawyers, with $4,100. Most of his contributors came from Albany, Oswego, and Syracuse. Pulaski, where he lives, came in fifth place on where his contributors live with $4,800.
Most of his contributors were institutions providing a total of $74,175 for his 2012 election campaign. His largest contributors with economic interest were from sectors of finance, insurance, and real estate. All together a total of $114,438,635 was contributed to his 2012 campaign.
(Vekonda Luangaphay is a graduate student in magazine, newspaper and online journalism.)