Gary Greenberg for years was fed up with the state Senate and the stalled Child Victims Act, a proposal that is meant to make it easier for the survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits.
Greenberg is a victim of childhood abuse himself. But as an adult, he has money. And with that money came some power to move the needle on the issue in Albany.
The Greene County businessman pushed for the election of candidates to the Legislature who supported the law, which ultimately was approved this year with Democrats flipping the state Senate. His political action committee endorsed candidates and help fund their campaigns.
Greenberg is now getting involved in open race for the 46th Senate district, forming an exploratory committee for the seat being vacated by Republican Sen. George Amedore.
Greenberg in a statement Wednesday said the push for the Child Victims Act gave him a broader prospective on the issues facing the state.
“Public service is about fighting for the interests of the people you were elected to represent, getting laws passed, securing financial resources for local organizations,” Greenberg said. “For the last five years of my life I have been fighting to enact the Child Victims Act and I travelled from Long Island to Buffalo working to elect Senators to make the Child Victims Act the law of the land.”
He’s also staking out more moderate ground that some Democrats in Albany. Pointing to the $6 billion budget gap lawmakers face next year, he signaled opposition to tax hikes to close it.
“We cannot simply continue to raise taxes in New York State,” he said. “We need elected officials that have the ability to be independent and wont be a rubber stamp for unending tax increases. New Yorkers need jobs and a future, they need elected officials who can get that job done.”
But there’s also competition for the Democratic nomination in the district. Michelle Hinchey, a Democrat who declared before Amedore announced his retirement, is also running.
The district was formed in 2012, born out of a redistricting plan drawn by Senate Republicans to add a GOP-leaning seat in the chamber. It stretches from the Mohawk Valley, Capital Region and down into the Hudson Valley.
Amedore held the seat since 2014, after initially losing a razor-thin vote in 2012 against Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk.
His planned departure from the state Senate next year is part of a wave of Republican retirements that have been announced in recent weeks.