MDonald: Hudson Valley’s Representative

Pat Gareau, Creative Editor

Assemblymember John McDonald represents the district that includes Hudson Valley in New York’s legislature. He is a lifelong resident of the Capital Region and a former student of Hudson Valley.

McDonald is a pharmacist by trade and grew up with his family’s business, Marra’s Pharmacy, in Cohoes. He still runs the pharmacy, which has been in his family for over 80 years. The experience he gained in business laid the foundations for his career in politics. He worked closely with the community as a pharmacist, which as McDonald noted is a “most trusted profession.”

“Running a business reminds me that we have to look at things holistically,” said McDonald, stressing the need to balance finances.

As mayor of Cohoes from 2000 until he was elected to the assembly in 2013, he took the city from a $1.5 million deficit to a $3 million surplus.

His background at Marra’s also gives him a unique perspective on holding elected office.

“Customer service is embedded in my family,” said McDonald. “I look at constituents as customers. You need to listen to people.”

As the assemblyman representing Hudson Valley, McDonald works with the college and state when the need arises. His involvement in the budget process includes helping colleges stay secure financially.

“There’s a concern to make sure we’re funding higher education properly,” he said.

This year’s budget allocated the same amount to higher education as last year. Hudson Valley’s revenue is in a period of uncertainty as a new chargeback formula is being developed to determine how much local counties will reimburse the school for educating their residents.

“We want HVCC to be successful,” said McDonald. “We want to continue to provide a cost effective opportunity.”

McDonald is optimistic about the outlook of the Capital Region as students move forward after their education.

“With key investments in nanotech and GlobalFoundaries, our top of the line universities and healthcare, and stable government employment, there is an abundant amount of opportunity,” he said.

“The reality is that the legislature and governor do very good work,” said McDonald.

Young people, including college students, have low rates of involvement in the politics. With the negativity and cynicism surrounding government, McDonald believes it is important to remain active in order to be properly represented.

According to McDonald, voting rates of 20 to 25 percent are “abysmal,” and campaigns can often focus in on people they know will vote and provide support to the constituents who exercise their voice.

“You need to be involved in the political process,” he said.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: