As the six Democratic candidates vying for the 109th Assembly seat prepare to debate Friday night, Assemblywoman Pat Fahy — who is leaving her post of 12 years to run for the state Senate — has thrown support behind Ginnie Farrell to replace her.

Fahy on Thursday announced she will vote for Farrell in New York's upcoming primary election June 25. Early voting begins Saturday. 

Farrell, 49, worked for Fahy's office and helped the outgoing assemblywoman first get elected in 2012.

"I think she's the most experienced and can hit the ground running," Fahy exclusively told Spectrum News 1. "I think she has the most substantive background and the most experienced to work side by side with myself and [Assemblyman] John McDonald."

Farrell is the majority leader of Albany's Common Council and works on environmental conservation bills for the state Assembly led by Environmental Conservation Committee chair Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and served for years on Albany's Board of Education.

"Ginnie, I know, can pick up those bills and knows how to get them done," Fahy said. "I am friends with all the candidates and I will work with whoever replaces me because there is so much work to be done in the Legislature and the 109th District."

The 109th Assembly District represents the city of Albany and surrounding suburbs Slingerlands and New Scotland.

If elected, Farrell said she'll focus on the state's climate goals, education and affordable housing.

"No one in the race has the same experience I have in local elected office or in direct policy work in the Assembly — that's the main thing that sets me apart," she said. "I'm in this because I care and I want to make a difference because I care. And I've been doing that for a long time and have been able to make some positive changes."

But it's ultimately up to enrolled Democratic voters to select the candidate who will move forward to the Nov. 5 general election. All six candidates are slated participate in a live one-hour debate starting at 7 p.m. Friday on Spectrum News stations statewide.

The nominee will face Alicia Purdy, who ran for mayor of Albany in 2021, on the Republican and Conservative tickets.

The field is crowded, but has no strangers, as all six candidates currently serve as Albany city or county lawmakers and will be familiar to voters.

Albany County legislator Dustin Reidy's stance on criminal justice policies sets him apart from the other candidates.

He wants to tweak the state's Raise the Age policy and bail reform laws to give judges additional discretion and improve public safety, which he says will bolster New York's economy.

"We can fight for equal justice for all and we can keep our streets safe at the same time," said Reidy, 44. "We have to do both and that's what I plan to do in the Assembly."

Reidy's stance on criminal justice policies has angered several of his opponents who stand against further bail reform rollbacks after the Legislature's recent tweaks to expand judicial discretion.

Candidate Gabriella Romero, 31, is a public defender and member of the Albany Common Council, representing Albany's 6th Ward. Her campaign has been centered on affordability issues like housing, child care and education.

She argues recent changes to bail reform empowered judges to set nonmonetary conditions for New Yorkers charged with a crime.

"The 109th District is looking for a fighter," Romero said. "They're looking for someone that they know that they can trust is going to stand up for them in conference behind closed doors and speak up for them in a way that prioritizes working families, that prioritizes people over profit and the needs of our district."

Candidate Albany Common Councilman Owusu Anane, 35, has also been outspoken on police reform and affordability. The special education teacher is the son of immigrants from Ghana and has served on the council for six years.

The owner of the former Partridge Pub said he will fight for a universal after-school program, aid to local governments and to reduce taxes.

"At the Capitol, we're going to advocate intensely for the issues we care about whether it's affordable housing,education and making sure that our neighborhoods are safe no matter where you live or what ZIP code you come from," Anane said.

Former chair of the Albany County Legislature, Andrew Joyce is the only veteran in the race. Joyce, 42, is a major in the U.S. Army National Guard, serving tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Joyce wants to focus on the flow of illegal guns from other states after a recent surge of gun violence in the city of Albany and stricter consequences for young people who commit crimes.

"It's a good mitigating factor, too, especially when you have gang violence if you get caught with a firearm, go spend a couple nights in jail, cool off and deal with it that way," Joyce said.

Sixth candidate Jack Flynn was unavailable to be interviewed, but is a current member of the Albany Common Council and the former chair of the Albany County Democratic Committee.