UTICA, NY-- Two Republicans are facing off in this year's primary for the 119th Assembly seat.
The seat in the state Legislature will be left vacant by current Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, who is not seeking re-election. Dennis Bova, of Utica, and Frederick Nichols, of Utica, are both vying for the Republican seat.
Bova has been working to make people's lives better through medicine for more than a decade. He earned his bachelor's degree from Middle Tennessee State University, an associates of nursing from St. Elizabeth College of Nursing and has been working in health care as a surgical assistant for 12 years. Now he wants to heal the government by bringing the voice back to the people.
"It's about taking a stand, listening to the people giving them their government back. I want to get the constituents more involved in what we're doing in the decisions that we could be making in Albany. There's been literally probably well over 1,000 people to talk to going to this process, they all kind of seemed disenchanted like they're not involved like it doesn't really matter what they say so it's going be the same old same old my biggest goal is to bring them back in."
Bova said he is against bringing a new hospital to downtown Utica. He said many of the constituents he's spoken with are against the downtown location. He's also focused on the local economy and anyone using their political powers for illegitimate private gain.
"I think corruption is number one, bringing jobs back to 119th Assembly district those are probably the two biggest targets I have on my plate right now," he said. "Those are the two things I am going after with a vengeance."
His opponent, Frederick Nichols, an assistant at the Mark A. Wolber Law Firm, is also seeking the Republican party line for 119th Assembly seat.
"I want to repeal the SAFE Act and stop the infringement on our Second Amendment rights," he said. "I want to tackle the high taxes for the middle class, I want to tackle making New York State and the 119th more business-friendly atmosphere. I want to take a crime, term limits and I'm the only pro-life candidate who's believe in the sanctity of life and I'm the only Republican who will say that."
Bova added that he is also anti-abortion and was raised Catholic.
Nichols is also against building a new hospital downtown, he said he feels it should be built at the St. Luke's campus instead. It was one of his campaign platforms when he ran for Utica Common Council last year, but was defeated against incumbent Councilman Bill Phillips, D-5.Nichols said he believes his background makes him more relatable to voters.
"I grew up in poverty with no mother, no father, shot my leg, stabbed in my arm, was physically abused at home," he said. "I was a high school dropout. I was in alternative education because my behavior and I grew up with the attitude the victimization attitude that I was entitled to something."
Nichols said after reading the United States Constitution and Declaration Of Independence it changed his way of thinking.
"I realize that this country offers anyone who is willing to work hard and pull your self out by your bootstraps and stay the course," he said.
Bova will also appear on the ballot under the Conservative and Reform party lines. If Nichols doesn't win the Republican seat in the primary race he won't appear on the ballot this November.