A former Republican here in Rochester is now running against a man who helped campaign for her.
Dorothy Styk is asking voters in the 135th Assembly District to oust Mark Johns and elect her.
Though they’re running for state Assembly for different parties, Mark Johns and Dorothy Styk will have a primary on September 13 for the Working Families Party line.
Both candidates say they want to change Albany for the better, but suggested very different priorities for the next legislative session.
“I believe that the district needs a strong and independent voice in Albany and I believe I am that person,” Styk said. “I want to go to Albany not just to fill a seat, but to advocate my community’s best interest.”
“I’m the most independent voice in Albany. I’m for term limits and all the reforms that follow along with it. I’ve been pushing for that, and as a minority member, I’m able to speak out about the issues,” said Johns. “I don’t have to follow along with the crowd. The biggest problem is Albany is going along to get along and obviously I haven’t done that.”
Republican incumbent Mark Johns and Democratic challenger Dorothy Styk agree independence is important in Albany.
But Johns says Styk would be part of the partisan politics problem in Albany, having switched parties last year.
“When I got involved in government I wanted to represent my community and its constituents. That’s good government,” Styk said. “Elected officials need to support the best interests of their community and I couldn’t do that as a Republican in the county legislature, and that’s why I switched parties.”
“When you don’t really have set values on issues, you’ll flip flop on the issues and you’ll flip flop on what party you’re with,” Johns said.
When it comes to the big issues, Styk says she’s focused on working families, and Johns hasn’t done that.
But the incumbent, elected back in 2010, says the real problem is gridlock in Albany and that’s why he’s focusing his campaign on issues like term limits and campaign finance reform.
“In the New York State Assembly, we author almost twice as many bills as the House of Representatives and yet we vote on less than 10% of those bills,” said Johns.
“I understand what it’s like to be in the minority,” said Styk. “I proposed legislation when I was on the County Legislature that was important in the community and you need to consistently push to make things happen, unfortunately Mark has not done that.”
News 8 asked Styk how she would handle gridlock in Albany better than Johns has, and why voters should believe she would get more work done. Styk ended the interview before answering that question.