A half-dozen Albany County Democrats seeking to represent the 109th state Assembly District participated in a mostly congenial hourlong debate on Spectrum News 1 Friday that touched on the issues of housing, crime, how to replace the now-closed College of Saint Rose, ideas for I-787, the county DA race and more.

Participating were Albany Common Councilmember Owusu Anane, Albany Councilmember Gabriella Romero, Albany Councilmember and former chair of the County Democratic Committe Jack Flynn, Albany Common Council Majority Leader Ginnie Farrell and Albany County Legislators Dustin Reidy and Andrew Joyce.

The six are running to succeed Assemblymember Pat Fahy in the 109th district, which is made up of the city of Albany and surrounding towns of Slingerlands and New Scotland. The seat opened up earlier this year, when Fahy announced she was seeking to fill the 46th Senate District seat occupied by Sen. Neil Breslin, who is retiring.

On reimagining 787 and the Saint Rose properties, the candidates generally agreed that residents should be consulted, but changes are necessary to increase the city tax base and open up the downtown area so residents can access the Hudson River waterfront.

All candidates said they support increasing taxes on the wealthy and oppose adding charter schools in the district.

Anane, a teacher and the son of immigrants from Ghana, has been outspoken on police reform and housing affordability. He said he didn't mind ruffling some feathers if it means doing the right thing. He also firmly supported Albany County District Attorney David Soares for reelection. 

Romero, 31, a public defender, distinguished herself as the only attorney in the race. She said she prides herself on holding community conversations. She stressed affordable housing and assisting working families. She said she will vote for Soares' Democratic primary challenger, Lee Kindlon. 

Albany County Legislator Dustin Reidy, who has served as campaign manager for Rep. Paul Tonko, drew some contrast with others by stating he doesn't support moving an Albany methadone clinic to Washington Avenue Extension from downtown Albany, and changes were needed to the Raise the Age law. He said he had the support of eight unions.

Farrell received the backing of Fahy this week in the race. She said she was the candidate with the most extensive experience, having worked in the Assembly for 12 years and with Fahy prior to that. She intends to focus on climate change, education and affordable housing if elected. She said she's a "process person," and wants people's voices to be heard on projects. 

Joyce is the former chairman of the Albany County Legislature and the only military veteran in the race. On Saint Rose, he said he'd like to see as many buildings back on the tax roll. He said he supports an MLS stadium plan for downtown Albany, but not at taxpayer expense. He wants to focus on stemming the flow of illegal guns from other states and and supports tweaking Raise the Age.

Flynn said he would change Raise the Age, and "public safety is a big concern." He also emphasized his political experience, saying he has worked in the city, county and state. He supports fully funding schools and taking down I-787.

The primary election is June 25, but voting starts Saturday. The party nominee will face Alicia Purdy, who ran for mayor of Albany in 2021, in the Nov. 5 general election. 

The debate was moderated by Susan Arbetter Capital Tonight. You can view it in its entirety above.