WALTON –– A new candidate has emerged in the race for the new 44th New York State Senatorial District, as 34-year-old Village of Walton Trustee and lifelong Democrat Eric Ball, who plans …
WALTON –– A new candidate has emerged in the race for the new 44th New York State Senatorial District, as 34-year-old Village of Walton Trustee and lifelong Democrat Eric Ball, who plans to run on the Democratic and Working Families party lines, will challenge Republican incumbent Mike Martucci.
Ball, who has already received the endorsements of the Democratic Committees in the Town of Montgomery, as well as in Sullivan, Orange and Delaware Counties, was born and raised in Walton. He earned a bachelor’s degree in History at SUNY Oneonta, where he studied Great Depression era politics and local elections. He’s since returned home to Walton, serving nearly two terms on the village board.
“I’ve always had a passion for politics, but ultimately, I found that the most rewarding part is being able to help and really stand up for people,” said Ball. “I think that’s one of the most important functions of public servants.”
Why run for NY-44?
Looking at the size of the new NY-44 Senate District, Ball noticed that it covered the entirety of Delaware County, and connected a largely rural area.
“A lot of my experience has been, number one growing up in a rural community and understanding what those issues are,” said Ball, “and knowing how difficult it is to make it in areas that don’t necessarily have the most opportunity for people coming out of college. I was inspired [to run] because I felt it was the time to enter the race and I think the issues ahead of us are very important. People need to have a voice. People need to have their voices elevated and not get drowned out by the negative politics that we often see.”
As for which issues are most important to him, Ball first pointed to infrastructure and assisting rural communities and municipalities to pursue funding for it.
“Those projects are incredibly expensive, and [in small rural communities] you don’t have the tax base to fully fund those projects,” said Ball. “I know there is money coming through the federal infrastructure plan … but I want to be sure that we are prioritizing the most vulnerable communities, and making sure that we’re hyper focused on this stuff, because a lot of these water systems, for example, the Village of Walton, date back to the Civil War, [and have] pipes that are well over 100 years old. People rely on that [infrastructure] for safe drinking water.”
Ball also mentioned concerns district residents have regarding access to affordable healthcare.
“In Delaware County, I have met a lot of voters [where] there are some programs in place, but not necessarily the transportation to get there,” said Ball. “So there’s a whole human infrastructure aspect to it too, and supporting things that extend healthcare to people that can’t normally afford it, and healthcare that covers them and provides for their needs.”
Ball also referenced public safety and the difficulties rural communities face budgeting to provide their police departments with the equipment they need. This includes investing in things like body cameras to protect both the officer and individual. He mentioned federal legislation in the works that would provide funding specifically for rural police departments, and believes the State should partner with the federal government and have an active role in the process as well.
And finally, Ball talked about the need for industry, finding funding to invest in new business and creating the types of policies that attract businesses to rural areas. One example he mentioned was growth in the cannabis industry, citing Holistic Industries’ potential cannabis manufacturing facility in the Town of Liberty.
“These are multimillion dollar investments that can provide high paying jobs that will retain labor and people and help grow these communities again,” said Ball. “It’s desperately needed.”
The Democrat will have more coverage of the race for the NY-44 Senate District leading up to November’s elections, including in-depth candidate profiles and stances on major issues.
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