Duprey comments on her first 90 days in Albany

PERU Last November voters elected Republican Janet Duprey to the New York State assembly to represent the 114th District that includes Clinton and Franklin Counties and the Town of St. Armand in Essex County. Prior to her election to the Assembly, Duprey served as Clinton County Treasurer for twenty years and as a county legislator for the prior ten years. We interviewed Duprey in her Plattsburgh office. Whats been your biggest surprise during your first 90 days in office? Without a doubt the biggest change has been not being informed, so many things done by so few people, particularly through the budget process. Although Ive always heard about it, its different to try to function through it. In over thirty years of working with the county budget and knowing where the numbers came from and where they were going and what was happening to walking in to vote on a budget and getting a 5,000 page document less than two hours before we were expected to vote. [Duprey went on to say that earlier in the session budget reforms had been agreed to whereby the legislators would receive plain language summaries of the bills well in advance of the vote. She said that didnt happen.] Is being in the minority party frustrating? Ive been very well received. I have had the opportunity to co-sponsor some bills with members of the majority. Theres no question that they can snag some of the most significant bills and thats fine. But its developing a rapport. I said it when I campaigned that Id spend my time doing consensus building and working with people and I think Ive already developed some good relationships. Duprey co-sponsored a bill that allows volunteer fire and ambulance departments to charge insurance companies when they transport patients in their ambulances. Another bill she co-sponsored authorized the start of a statewide autism council. Whats a typical workweek like? Very busy! I enjoy working with constituents tremendously. I leave home early Monday morning, usually try to be in Albany about 9 a.m. Usually the session is done late Wednesday and I make it home late Wednesday night. Certainly that wasnt true before the budget, we were working through the weekend and working until one in the morning. Many, many groups and organizations come in for lobby days espousing their particular causes. Ive met with many groups from across the entire district and some from out of the area who stop and try and educate Assemblypersons on what their cause is and what their purpose is. There are days when its not unusual to meet with seven, eight or ten groups. We also have Assembly meetings and committee meetings. On Monday and Tuesday evenings, groups invite legislators to their annual receptions. Its an opportunity to meet people that otherwise we would not meet. I find it very beneficial. Mondays are usually an incredibly long day. How large is your staff? I have one full-time administrative assistant in Plattsburgh. Her name is Danielle Sorrell. Shes a great person. She actually worked here for Chris Ortloff. She does the scheduling for all three offices (Duprey has offices in Plattsburgh, Malone and at the state capital). Jill Abdullah is working as a special assistant for me and has been great covering events throughout the district when Im in Albany. Shes also done some of the constituent work when I cant handle it all. She works part-time. Duprey went on to explain that she also has two Plattsburgh State student interns and an assistant in her Albany office when the legislature is in session. How long is the legislature session in session? Through the end of June. I was sworn in on what would have been my dads birthday, Jan. 3. Im determined to be home for my granddaughters high school graduation on June 23.

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