We cannot think of a local political leader more prepared to take the next step into the Albany political arena than Queensbury Supervisor Dan Stec.
We’ve watched closely over the past 10 years as Stec has grown into a can-do leader, first at the town level and then in the county, where he has been chairman of the Board of Supervisors for the past two years.
He is an old-fashioned fiscal conservative who was beating the drum to cut spending long before town and county governments were in crisis mode. When times were good and sales tax revenue was growing, Stec resisted big spending increases. He instead gave the money back to Queensbury taxpayers by eliminating the town tax.
It has since come back, but considering the recent economic climate, it was an admirable accomplishment that the town was able to avoid the tax as long as it did.
Our one and only reservation about endorsing Stec for the seat in the Assembly formerly held by Teresa Sayward is the void his absence will leave at the town and county levels. Stec’s presence will be missed and he will be hard to replace.
We recall in his earliest days as Queensbury’s supervisor how he stood up to fire and emergency services squads when their spending was spiraling out of control.
This was the Taj Mahal era in Queensbury and those buildings are tangible evidence political leaders were unwilling to take a stand when it came to one of the local sacred cows.
Although it was a politically risky move, Stec took a stand and got fire and rescue squad spending under control, and it has remained that way ever since.
Stec’s education, with degrees in engineering and business administration, has served him well and allows him to grasp complicated problems that face the town or county. We expect those skills will serve him well in the Assembly, where he could immediately make a difference.
In running for the Assembly, he has made his goals clear:
♦ Reduce the regulatory burden in the state.
♦ Cut the cost of doing business in New York by reducing taxes.
♦ Continue to invest in infrastructure, from roads and bridges to broadband, across the state.
They are goals we have heard repeatedly this election season from many different candidates, including Stec’s opponent. But what we especially like about Stec is his decade’s worth of county experience, during which he continually ran into expenses imposed by state mandates. We suspect, like many local business people, the state mandates drove him crazy. He may soon be in a position to do something about them.
When talking to our editorial board, he used the example of a problem he ran into at the county level. When local public defenders had a conflict or could not take a case, state mandates called for the county to select from a pool of state-approved lawyers at a cost that was fairly high.
Stec wanted to bid out the public defender services through local law firms and felt he could get a better price for the county, but the state blocked the move.
Democratic challenger Dennis Tarantino, a local attorney, is making his second run at this Assembly seat. He lost to Teresa Sayward eight years ago.
Tarantino has not held elected office, and while he touted his experience working with local government and the state through his law practice, the editorial board found him lacking in specifics when it came to solving Albany’s many, many problems.
When you compare the resumes of the two candidates, Stec’s long service for the town and county stands out.
Stec told our editorial board he will bring a “tenacity” to any job he takes on. That is something any upstate Republican will need to be successful in the Democratic-controlled Assembly.
Stec used a football analogy to describe a management style of “keeping the ball between the 40s,” insisting political leaders in Albany will quickly learn he is someone who is capable and someone they can work with.
Dan Stec was born to be a political leader. He has paid his dues in his hometown and home county and now it is time for the citizens of the 114th Assembly District to give him another challenge — fixing Albany from a position in the state Assembly.
Local editorials represent the opinion of The Post-Star editorial board, which consists of Publisher Rick Emanuel, Editor Ken Tingley, Projects Editor Will Doolittle and citizen representative Mark Bergman.