Jack Fights Back – McEneny Debates A Letter

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Jack Fights Back

McEneny Debates A Letter

By Daniel Van Riper

Unexpectedly, John J. “Jack” McEneny is fighting for his job. The
State Assemblyman from the 104th District, which runs from Albany to
Schenectady to the Hilltowns and includes most of the Pine Bush,
spoke to about 50 people at the July 29, 1998 lasagna dinner at 1st
Presbyterian Church in Albany. He is being challenged in the
Democratic Primary on Sept. 15 by county legislator Gary Domalewicz,
who could not show up in person, but wrote a two page letter in
response to questions submitted to him by Save the Pine Bush
president Rezsin Adams.

Mr. McEneny had no trouble with his environmental record, easily
fielding questions about his record of accomplishments, which include
pesticide control and notification, heavy vehicle emissions
reduction, drinking water safety and of course, placing the Pine Bush
on the priority list for funding for land acquisition. According to
Environmental Advocates, Jack McEneny has the highest environmental
voting record (93%) of any legislator in the Capital District, and
one of the highest in the State.

Mr. Domalewicz admitted that he had little knowledge of Pine Bush
issues. “I will reserve an answer,” he wrote, “to how the Assembly
can help save the Pine Bush, until I have an opportunity to sit and
have a constructive dialogue with your membership and determine the
issues that we both agree, should be part of my legislative agenda.”

The challenger believes that Mr. McEneny is not “creative and
independent.” “I simply feel that our incumbent,” wrote Domalewicz,
“has not shown the ability as a member of the majority . . . to have
meaningful legislation passed that would have a positive effect on
our District. I believe that I can provide a better, more independent

Mr. Domalewicz is a close ally of Albany mayor Jerry Jennings, who
is openly carrying a grudge against Mr. McEneny for daring to
challenge him in the last mayoral campaign, in which Jennings
outspent Mr. McEneny 5 to 1 and won handily. Certainly Jennings is
still angry that Mr. McEneny thwarted his plans to privatize Pine
Bush Preserve at Rensselaer Lake, after which taxpayers would have
had to pay $12 per person to use public land. Jennings’ scheme needed
to pass both houses of the State Legislature, but at the request of
Save the Pine Bush Mr. McEneny “tabled” the motion, which effectively
killed this assault on the Preserve.

Many people in the know believe that Mr. Jennings has made a pact
with the State Republican Party to disrupt the Democratic Party in
Albany, perhaps in return for political protection or favors. His
close hob-nobbing with elite Republican politicians, and his support
for the Republican challenger to State Senator Neil Breslin lend
support to this theory. Whatever his merits, Mr. Domalewicz, who
announced his candidacy the day after the last election, is widely
considered a pawn in this game.

We at Save the Pine Bush believe that Jack McEneny is doing an
excellent job in the Assembly and has been of great benefit to the
Pine Bush ecosystem. We do not see that his inexperienced challenger
will bring any improvement, but rather the contrary. We wish the best
to Mr. McEneny in his re-election campaign.

published Aug/September, 98 Newsletter

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