Voters will again have a choice between incumbent Bill Magnarelli, D-Syracuse, and a Republican newcomer in the race for the 129th State Assembly District in the fall 2014 election.
The newcomer is Rick Zaccaria, a Republican businessman from Van Buren. Magnarelli will be running for his ninth term for the seat. The election will be Nov. 4, 2014.
The 129th State Assembly District contains parts of the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County, including the towns of Van Buren and Geddes. In the 129th State Assembly District, the Democrats have the majority of registered voters, according to the Onondaga County Board of Elections. Of the district’s 72,592 voters, 44 percent—or 31,692—are Democrats; 23 percent—or 16,834—are Republicans; and 25 percent—or 18,364—are unaffiliated with a political party.
Here’s an early look at the two candidates:
Bill Magnarelli (Incumbent, Democrat)
In 1998, Magnarelli won his first term in what was then the 120th State Assembly District. Before becoming an assemblyman, Magnarelli was the majority leader on the Common Council. In 2007, he ran against Republican Joanie Mahoney for the county executive seat and lost. Magnarelli was not available for an interview, according to his office.
In the state assembly, Magnarelli is chair of the Committee on Local Governments. He a member of the Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry; the Committee on Education; the Committee on Oversight, Analysis and Investigation; and the Committee on Rules.
Rick Zaccaria (Challenger, Republican)
Zaccaria, 44, is the corporate manager for the New York market at Beltone Electronics. As of early May, he had started a social media campaign. His Facebook page is called “Back Zacc for Assembly,” his Twitter page is called BackZacc4_NY.
His reason for running: “I’m tired of people’s voices not being heard,” he said in an interview.
On his social media sites, Zaccaria said he wants to focus on issues such as the Common Core testing, which is a state mandated set of tests that many students have to take, and the NY SAFE Act, which sets restrictions on guns and who can purchase them. He is a long-standing National Rifle Association member, his campaign’s Facebook page says. It describes him as an “avid recreational shooter and gun owner.”
Zaccaria has received support from one of Magnarelli’s former opponents. David Gay, who ran against Magnarelli for the former 120th New York State Assembly District.
“Rick Zaccaria is a Conservative Republican who has proven himself to be on the right side of the issues,” Gay said in a post on Gay’s Facebook page. “In his first declaration as a candidate,” Gay posted, “he chose to mention his opposition to Common Core and his full support for our 2nd Amendment rights.”
Zaccaria has said that he will quit his job at Beltone and become a full-time assemblyman, if he is elected.
(Caroline Strange is a junior with dual majors in broadcast and digital journalism and anthropology with a minor in political science.)