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politics

Dutchess Legislator Tyner Challenging Serino For Senate Seat

Legislator Joel Tyner is challenging Senator Sue Serino
Legislator Joel Tyner is challenging Senator Sue Serino Photo Credit: Contributed

Dutchess County Legislator Joel Tyner (D-Rhinebeck) has announced he is running against Senator Sue Serino in the 41st District (R-Hyde Park) next year.

Serino, who was first elected in 2014, is running for a third term in the district that represents parts of Dutchess and Putnam.

"The working class has been ignored by Sue Serino," Tyner said. "She has sold her office to the highest bidder."

Tyner, a teacher's assistant at Hudson High School, has been critical of Serino's refusal to support a $15 minimum wage.

"A minimum wage has to be a living wage," Tyner said.

Tyner, who identifies as a progressive, said he would like to see New York adopt single-payer health care and become fossil fuel free. He criticized Serino for supporting Cricket Valley Energy Center in Dover. He would also like to eliminate school property taxes, funding education via income taxes.

"Sue Serino has been clueless and inactive on that issue," Tyner said.

Tyner said he doesn't mind being the perceived underdog in the race. Since Franklin Roosevelt represented the district, it has been dominated Republicans, save for Terry Gipson in 2012, who lasted one term.

"I've been under the underdog in my last eight elections," Tyner said. "I have very strong local roots. I'm in it to win it."

Tyner's time as a Dutchess County Legislator has not been without controversy. Last year he became the first legislator censured after he said the county public works commissioner was "Following orders...just like Germans 70 years ago," when discussing the county's take over of the Poughkeepsie city bus system.

Tyner, who said he apologized to the commissioner, said the county's takeover of the bus system was illegal and immoral.

"Of course my comments could've been worded differently," Tyner said. "It was not meant as an attack."

Kara Cuomoletti, a spokesperson for Serino, said Tyner is "detached from reality."

"This desperate cry for attention is next level," Cuomoletti said. "His decision to run for this seat on the heels of becoming the only County Legislator in history to be censured for his incredibly offensive behavior, just goes to show how truly out of touch he has become."

Cuomoletti said Serino has established a strong record of being a leader on issues that matter to Hudson Valley families.

"She will continue to focus her efforts on moving our community forward and improving quality of life for those living and working throughout our community," Cuomoletti said.

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