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Lisbon resident Russell Finley will challenge Addie Russell for Assembly seat


LISBON — Farmer and real estate broker Russell J. Finley will challenge Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, for the 116th District seat.

A registered Conservative, Mr. Finley owns a beef farm in Lisbon and Finley Real Estate.

“I consider myself a political outsider. I’m not a believer in asking anyone’s permission to do something,” he said.

Originally from Ogdensburg, Mr. Finley spent the years from 1984 to 1992 at Lake Placid as a member of the U.S. bobsled team, racking up more than 6,500 runs.

Republicans John S. Humphrey of Brownville and John L. Byrne III of Cape Vincent also have announced intentions to run.

Mr. Finley said his campaign “isn’t about personalities. This isn’t about Addie Russell at all. This is about affording people choices. As a registered Conservative I have no ties to either of the two major parties.”

Mr. Finley said he wants to repeal the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act that was signed into law in 2013 and implemented tighter restrictions on ammunition and gun purchases and enhanced the definition of assault weapons, among other things.

“This is about the constitutional damage that the SAFE Act does,” Mr. Finley said, adding that he has spent the past several months organizing rallies across the state in opposition to the law and has marched on Albany with others who are opposed.

Mrs. Russell voted in favor of the law last year.

Mr. Finley said he also is concerned that the law ultimately will cause the state to lose jobs in the gun industry.

Mr. Finley also is opposed to Common Core, a national education standard encouraged by the administration of President Barack Obama.

“The Common Core has got to go. There is nothing good about this,” he said.

In addition to the Common Core, Mr. Finley wants to see the annual professional performance review for teachers discontinued.

The state-governed evaluation process is unfair, Mr. Finley said, and “eats up a ridiculous amount of time.”

The final platform of his campaign is opposing the recently announced initiative by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to provide college classes to prisoners.

“One of the reasons I came out today was this ridiculous idea of the governor to educate prisoners,” he said. “As a taxpayer and as someone who paid for his own college education, I am highly offended that a criminal, someone who has committed a crime against society, is rewarded.”

Mr. Finley said he thinks the ultimate goal of Mr. Cuomo’s plan is to close down prisons in Northern New York.

He said his campaign strategy will involve going door to door with voters, attending rallies and talking with whoever will listen.

The 116th Assembly District, known locally as the river district, encompasses the towns in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties along the St. Lawrence River and dips into some towns almost to the center of each county. It includes the city of Watertown.

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