MALONE — A small business owner running to represent the North Country in the state Senate introduced herself to voters and heard what topics were on their minds Wednesday afternoon at the Franklin County Fairgrounds.
Jean A. Lapper, of Queensbury, is running as the Democratic candidate for Senate District 45.
Lapper, a mother of two daughters and a community leader, described herself as an advocate for the North Country.
“I would like to see a voice, a reasoned, rational voice present our case, have a seat at the table and bring resources back to our area,” Lapper said. “With all the vitriol that is going on in politics I would like to bring a reasonable and rational voice to the table so we can be heard. I think we need someone at the table who is willing to stand up for us and who is willing to work for us, who is willing to provide a solution, and not just say this is wrong, to look for a solution and work it out.”
According to Lapper, she runs an accounting firm in Glens Falls, Anderson Advisory.
“I’ve lived in Queensbury for about 35 years, I have raised two children there, I’m a mom, a CPA and I’m a small business owner. I’ve been active in my community for decades,” Lapper said. “I’ve been doing a lot of work in the Warren County area and I see a lot of need, and I think parts of the North Country are neglected, particularly in Albany. I think the time is now, I think I am at a point where I have been watching what is going on. As a CPA, I see us send our tax dollars to Albany, and I would love to see them come back.”
Lapper said she wants to help make the North Country more attractive for young people who grow up here but end up moving away to pursue their careers.
“I see a lot of young people get educated and leave, and I want them to have an opportunity to come back,” Lapper said. “One of the things is we need to provide economic opportunity, they need to have jobs, but we also need to have affordable and accessible broadband. There are many jobs that are based elsewhere but you can do remotely. We’ve been talking about broadband for years. Now is the time to finish it out and make it affordable. I think that’s part of it, and affordable housing, affordable housing is really critical, young people have a hard time finding a place to live. We need to match salaries with the cost of living.”
Lapper said she entered the race for the state Senate because she felt voices within the district were not being heard.
“This seat was uncontested until I announced. To me that’s about as undemocratic as you get,” Lapper said. “I think there are voices that aren’t being heard, the voices of people who are looking for protection for reproductive rights, for childcare, for affordable healthcare, and protecting the environment. That is not being discussed right now, and we need those things to be discussed, it’s important to all of us.”
Lapper spent the afternoon on Wednesday introducing herself to potential voters, canvassing the Malone area prior to her stop at the fairgrounds.
“What I want people to know is that I have been where they are, and as a mom, a small business owner, I understand that those businesses are the backbone of our economy, the economy of our small businesses in our downtowns,” Lapper said.
According to Lapper, recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court were a driving factor in her decision to run for office.
“With all the changes, with us losing our rights at the highest level, I would like to see further protections for reproductive rights,” Lapper said. “I want to help provide more resources to make reproductive healthcare accessible, particularly in some of our more rural areas, the more far-reaching areas where a lot of medical services aren’t available. I would like to see more resources come back to our area to assist with that.”
Lapper said the environment is an important issue for her, citing its impacts on tourism throughout the Adirondacks and the park’s surrounding communities.
“We have a lot of tourism, protecting the environment is another very important thing for me,” Lapper said.
She said she has taken an active approach to campaigning this summer after entering the race a couple months ago.
“I’ve been in every county, all six, been to every county more than once already. I got into the race in June,” Lapper said. “I am going to continue to travel, spend a few days in each town or county, 6,800 square miles. I am going to keep going around and listening and reaching out to as many people as I can.”
According to Lapper, her approach to campaigning has been to listen.
“So I can get a better understanding of what the specific needs are in the various communities of the district,” Lapper said. “A lot of people are interested in investment in small businesses, concerned about affordable housing, and childcare. The other thing that comes up, especially amongst women, is the protection of reproductive rights. They don’t want to see more government overreach into their private lives.”
Lapper said she has run for office previously, running for a seat on the Warren County board of supervisors in 2019.
“My favorite part of campaigning, it was the most fun part last time, and it is the most fun part this time, is going door-to-door, meeting people, and hearing what is on their mind, meeting people where they are at,” Lapper said. “You learn so much about how people are living their daily lives. My goal is to help people to live and work in their community and to make their lives easier.”
The seat is currently held by Daniel G. Stec, R-Queensbury, who was first elected to the seat in 2020.
Lapper and Stec will be vying for a seat in the state’s 45th district, a new district that covers the northern tip of Washington County, all of Warren, Essex, Clinton, and Franklin counties, as well as eastern St. Lawrence County. State courts finalized maps for state Senate and congressional districts earlier in the year.
Following months of back and forth, after redistricting prompted by the U.S. Census, the state set concrete district maps for its 26 congressional and 63 state Senate seats.
The 45th District covers much of the region currently represented by Stec.
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