New York’s primary is just a little over a week away.

Two candidates are vying for the 108th Assembly District seat that encompasses many different areas including parts of Albany, Troy, Waterford, and Watervliet.

Here is a snapshot of each candidate.

What You Need To Know

  • John McDonald and Sam Fein are vying for control of the 108th district
  • McDonald, the incumbent, says he will continue to focus on health care, education, and fighting the opioid crisis
  • Fein, and Albany County legislature, supports single-payer health care, universal childcare, and taxing the wealthy to help pay for education

The incumbent, John McDonald, has been an assemblyman for the 108th District for eight years.

Before that, he served as the mayor of Cohoes for 13 years.

McDonald is the only lawmaker in the state legislature who is a practicing medical professional, as a licensed pharmacist. He is also one of a handful of lawmakers who is a business owner, as he owns Marra’s Pharmacy in Cohoes. 

It is this experience and background, McDonald says that has helped him lead the way in fighting for bipartisan bills such as lowering prescription drug prices.

McDonald says he is going to continue to work on battling the opioid crisis, investing in education and increasing access to health care. 

“I see myself as an individual who represents the interests of the whole 108th Assembly District,” McDonald explained. “Most people, they want an opportunity to work, they want an opportunity to protect their family, but also have their family stay here, and be able to afford to live here with a stable health care system. That’s what they want and that’s what I’ve been focusing on for the last eight years and plan to do for the years to follow.”

Sam Fein is McDonald’s challenger this year in the Democratic primary.

Fein has been serving as an Albany County legislator for four years and was re-elected twice.

Fein has deep roots in the community: his great-grandfather first immigrated to Albany’s South End in the early 20th century and opened furniture stores across the Capital District.

Fein sees himself as more of a progressive candidate.

He says he wants to lead on issues such as single-payer health care, universal childcare, and taxing the wealthy to help pay for education.

“This is a district where so many people are struggling living paycheck to paycheck,” explained Fein. “We’re seeing this is a district that is being right now, exposed more than most to the impacts of the coronavirus, both from a health perspective and an economic perspective. When it comes to the issues, to issues that really impact the working people like raising the minimum wage or affordable housing issues, I felt we need a representative who is really going to speak up and be at the forefront leading on these issues.” 

The primary is set for June 23.