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Pivotal Murphy, Harckham State Senate Battle Gets Heated

Campaign signs can be found throughout the crucial 40th Senate District. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Terrence Murphy Photo Credit: Contributed
Peter Harckham Photo Credit: Contributed

The 40th Senate District, which includes parts of Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties is considered one of eight "battleground" elections that could tip the balance of political power in Albany.

On Tuesday, Nov. 6 voters can choose between incumbent Republican Sen. Terrence Murphy and Democrat Peter Harckham.

Murphy of Yorktown was elected to the state Senate in 2014, and is completing his second two-year term. 

Harckham of South Salem, a former Westchester County legislator, defeated Robert Kesten in the Sept. 13 Democratic Party primary election. Kesten said he supports Harckham in the general election.

Murphy has ranked the abuse of opioid painkillers and heroin as the state's most pressing crisis. Locally, the Republican also is concerned about the state-negotiated closing of the Indian Point nuclear power plants in Buchanan and the $10,000 federal cap on state and local tax deductions. 

Finally, Murphy has been outspoken about area utility companies' slow response to restoring electricity after storms.

He's also an advocate of increased rights for victims of sexual and domestic crimes, and stronger penalties against suspected abusers.

Murphy is credited with legislative efforts to protect drinking water and revitalize waterfront communities.

He has boasted about bringing home more than $700 million in state aid for schools within his Senate district during the last two years.

Harckham also ranks curbing substance abuse -- including opioids and the need for healthcare reform among his priorities.

Likewise, Harckham says he will hold utility companies accountable and work to protect drinking water and the Hudson River.

If elected to the Senate, Harckham also pledged to work with other state lawmakers on investing in renewable energy. 

During his first 30 days in the state Senate, Harckham also said he'd support passage of the the Reproductive Health Act, the Child Victims Act and the Red Flag bill. 

During his first term, Harckham also said he would work to pass the NY Health Act along with election and campaign finance reform.

The four-term county legislator and two-term majority leader believes that Albany's Republican majority has abdicated its right to lead. 

Key legislation is not being discussed or debated, as Republican leaders regularly blocks bills and even routine administrative matters from reaching the Senate floor.

Harckham said he helped pass county legislation on housing, childcare and the environment, among other important topics.

As a state senator, Murphy sponsored legislation to limit opioid prescriptions from 30 to seven days, to reduce the chances of addiction and abuse.

Murphy also sponsored bills to make school shootings an act of domestic terrorism and  fund education and training assistance for school districts to improve security and safety technology. 

Earlier this year, Murphy authored state legislation to reform how utility companies respond to storm and power outages. Harckham also blasted the abysmal response time and maintenance record of this region's utility companies.

When Indian Point's eventual permanent closure was announced, Murphy helped secure $24 million in the state budget to help protect area taxpayers from financial hardship.

Murphy also sponsored the Worker Protection Bill to help Indian Point employees get re-certified for future work. 

Finally, Harckham said he won a former Republican-held seat on the county Board of Legislators and vowed to help Democrats take control of the state Senate.

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