Two years ago Democrats gained control of the state Senate with help from victories like that of Democrat Jen Metzger, flipping long-held Republican seats.
Now Metzger is running for a second term in the Hudson Valley, facing Republican Mike Martucci. It's expected to be among a handful of battleground seats in play for Democrats this year, who hold a sizeable majority after years of being in the political wilderness in the state Senate.
Metzger in an interview pointed to a bipartisan record in the chamber: More than two dozen bills approved with support from Democrats and Republicans.
"I'm really focused to taking a problem solving approach to this job and really focusing on the needs of the rural communities and towns that I represent," she said.
In her next term Metzger says she wants to focus on issues like food security. And she says she is supportive of tax increases on the wealthy in order to offset property tax hikes and help fund schools given the budget crisis created by the pandemic.
"Those that can afford it should be paying their fair share at this time," she said. "It's in everyone's interest for us to get through this crisis and come back stronger."
Metzger is being challenged this year by Martucci, who is confident he can work with Democrats who hold power in Albany.
"This is about collaboration. What I know is that I'm going to better represent the values of the people here who live in the 42nd district," he said. "So I look forward to bringing those values to the table and working with our governor and certainly Democratic majorities in the state Assembly and potentially the state Senate to make it happen."
Martucci started a private school bus company and later sold it. Now he wants to make New York more business friendly by bringing that experience to Albany.
"There were bus companies that were literally a mile away from me in the state of Pennsylvania or the state of New Jersey who had significantly lower operating costs and would routinely under bid me and outbid me on public work and it was because I was shouldering additional costs just by having my business in the state of New York," he said.
Metzger's victory in 2018 came after the retirement of longtime Republican Sen. John Bonacic. Democrats hope to hold and expand similar districts this year that were once held by GOP lawmakers in parts of upstate New York and the New York City suburbs.