Power & Politics: Shrestha wins Democratic support; will face primary in June

Both the Dutchess Democratic Committee (84% to 16%) and Ulster Democratic Committee (71% to 29%) backed incumbent Assembly member Sarahana Shrestha for reelection in the 103rd District but the incumbent is likely to still face an incumbent later this summer.

Jonathan Gordon

Feb 26, 2024, 12:59 AM

Updated 93 days ago

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Both the Dutchess Democratic Committee (84% to 16%) and Ulster Democratic Committee (71% to 29%) backed incumbent Assembly member Sarahana Shrestha for reelection in the 103rd District but the incumbent is likely to still face an incumbent later this summer.
A few weeks ago, State Sen. James Skoufis' former Deputy Chief of Staff Gabi Madden announced her campaign for the district that includes parts of Dutchess and Ulster counties. Madden is hoping to offer voters an alternative to incumbent Assembly Member Sarahana Shrestha.
News 12 spoke with both candidates before the nominating conventions.
"There's been an absence in those results being delivered back home and so that's really where I came in, stepped up, and said 'I'm going to go for this seat,'" Madden said.
Shrestha was first elected in 2022 after defeating longtime incumbent Democrat Assembly Member Kevin Cahill in the primary before cruising to a win that November. Her win was seen as a major milestone for the state's progressive movement which had not seen much success outside of New York City.
She defended her time so far in office suggesting voters are not looking for a change in leadership.
"Some people are just going to think it's a fluke and they can get this seat back but this is the wrong district for that. This is a very progressive, forward-thinking district," Shrestha said.
Madden is a lifelong Ulster County resident and currently lives in Bloomington. After graduating from Kingston High School, she attended SUNY Ulster and eventually earned a bachelor's degree from Marymount Manhattan College. Her political work includes time as a Constituent Representative and Communications Liasion for former Assembly Member Kevin Cahill and in the state senate under Skoufis.
Her campaign is focused on supporting safe housing, making the district climate-centered, and advancing affordability.
Shrestha burst onto the scene as a climate activist and instrumental advocate for The Build Public Renewables Act which failed twice in the state legislature before passing in 2023 during her first year in office. She's committed to taking no corporate donations and if reelected plans to push for holding the utility companies accountable, building high-quality affordable homes, and leading the way on the environment through a Green New Deal.
Despite losing at both county committee nominating parties, Madden promised to push forward with her campaign through the June primary election.
"Thank you to everyone who supported me and spoke in favor of the need to lead with hope and courage," Shrestha wrote on X after winning at both conventions.
"This is just the beginning of our campaign to have an effective and progressive voice in the State Assembly," Madden wrote in a statement.


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