The Rensselaer County Democratic Committee proudly endorses the following candidates for local and state races. For more information about their candidacies and/or to volunteer for their campaigns, please visit their campaign websites, follow or like their social media pages, or email or call their campaigns directly.
OFFICE OF DISTRICT ATTORNEY
Mary Pat Donnelly
Mary Pat (Murphy) Donnelly is a lifelong resident of Rensselaer County, currently living in East Greenbush with her husband and five children. After law school, she worked as a Deputy State’s Attorney in Bennington, Vermont. During that time she prosecuted cases in both criminal and family court. Mary Pat began her career as a Court Attorney with the Unified Court System over twenty years ago. In that capacity, she researches and drafts legal opinions while providing counsel to city court judges during trials and hearings.
Mary Pat was appointed, and then elected, Judge of the East Greenbush Town Court in 2012. She ran unopposed for a second term in 2016. From her position on the bench, she had first-hand knowledge of the deficient functioning of the current District Attorney’s office. She resigned her judgeship and entered the race because she believes that she can be of service to the county as District Attorney. Mary Pat’s judicial experience and knowledge of criminal law gives her important perspective on the requirements of successful prosecution. She knows what it takes to secure a conviction and has extensive experience dealing with the rules of evidence as well as issues pertaining to speedy trial and suppression.
In addition to her professional experience, Mary Pat has served as Public Relations Director of the East Greenbush Girls Softball League for the past five years. Along with her sister, she also founded the Timothy J. Murphy Foundation, named after her late father, which awards college scholarships to children and grandchildren of police officers and firefighters. Mary Pat volunteers in various capacities with the East Greenbush Central School District and was inducted into the East Greenbush Education Foundation Alumni Hall of Fame in 2015.
Mary Pat’s mother, Toni Murphy, has served the people of East Greenbush as Receiver of Taxes since 1992. Her father was a Detective with the Albany Police Department for 32 years. Mary Pat’s husband is a Detective Sergeant in his 25th year of service in that same department. It would be her privilege to serve as District Attorney and to work alongside law enforcement in Rensselaer County.
Neil D. Breslin, 44th District
Neil Breslin, Democrat, is currently serving as New York State Senator representing the 44th District, which consists of parts of Albany County and parts of Rensselaer County. Born as one of six children, Neil is a lifelong resident of Albany.
On academic scholarship, Neil attended Fordham College from which he graduated in 1964 with a BS degree in Political Science. Upon graduation from law school, Neil became an associate in the firm of Garry Cahill & Edmunds and two years later became a partner in a new firm entitled Garry, Cahill, Edmunds & Breslin. In 1981, Neil formed a partnership with his two brothers, Michael and Thomas. Currently, Neil practices law as "of counsel" to the firm of Barclay Damon, LLP.
Neil has been a community leader for many years. His involvement in civic and social areas in Albany includes 15 years as a board member of Arbor House, a residence facility for women in need. He also served as president of Arbor House for a period of seven years. Neil has been the attorney for St. Anne's Institute in Albany and has performed work for Hospitality House, the International Center and Hope House, a drug treatment facility. Further, Neil was Vice President of the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless from 1994 to 1998.
Neil currently serves as a member of the Legislative Ethics Commission. Neil is the former and longest serving President of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) and is the former Chair of the State/Federal Relations Committee. In recognition of his dedication and commitment, Senator Breslin has received awards from numerous organizations including the Environmental Planning Lobby, Capital Area Council of Churches, the Legal Project, the Homeless Action Committee, Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, Caregivers Respite Services of Catholic Charities, University at Albany's Presidential Honors Society, New York State Bar Association, American Civil Liberties Union, KidsPeace National Centers, Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy and Robert F. Kennedy Democratic Club.
Aaron Gladd, 43rd District
Aaron Gladd is a proud and life-long Upstate New Yorker who has devoted his life to public service – putting neighbors and nation first. As a father, husband, combat veteran and experienced public servant, he understands what keeps us up at night. And today he’s standing up for our communities, families, veterans, farmers and small business owners alike. His passion for empowering New Yorkers, compounded by his authentic and common-sense approach to problem-solving, means he isn’t afraid to stand up for what’s right. It’s what he’s done his whole life.
Aaron grew up poor, but through hard work and perseverance, he became the first member of his family to go to college, earning a BA and MPA at SUNY Albany. After graduating, he worked in the State Legislature and in 2011 he joined the US Army where he served as a Platoon Leader in the 1st Cavalry Division, including a combat tour to Afghanistan.
After four years of service, Aaron moved back home to raise a family and joined the Governor’s office, where he served as the Deputy Director of Policy, leaving that position to run as a full-time candidate for State Senate. Aaron has deep roots in his district, a commitment to public service at home and abroad, and a track record of implementing policy that impacts working and middle-class families.
Born and raised in New Lebanon and now serving as a public servant for her community as the elected Town Clerk, Tistrya Houghtling has brought commitment, compassion and service to everything she does.
Tistrya graduated as valedictorian from the New Lebanon Jr./Sr. High School in 1997 and, after college, she traveled all over the country organizing and coordinating multi-thousand person events. Her love of people and attention to detail quickly made her one of the most sought after festival planners in the country.
Eight years ago Tistrya moved back to her hometown to raise her family and give back to the community that gave her so much throughout her childhood. She now, once again, calls New Lebanon her home with her husband and three children, along with their dog and chickens.
Called to public service, Tistrya served as the Deputy Court Clerk in the New Lebanon Town Court from 2010 - 2011 when she got promoted to Court Clerk. After five years of service in the Court, Tistrya ran a successful campaign for Town Clerk winning votes from voters across all party lines, winning a contested race by a 13% margin.
In her 2 1/2 years as Town Clerk, Tistrya has served all of her constituents efficiently and effectively. Now, Tistrya is running to be the Assemblywoman for District 107, expanding her dedication to serving as a representative for the people. She will bring her passion for service, compassion for people and hard work and dedication to serve all of the communities of Assembly District 107.
John T. McDonald III, 108th District
John T. McDonald III was elected Member of Assembly for the 108th Assembly District on November 6, 2012. McDonald is a life-long resident of Cohoes, who is a husband, father, small businessman, pharmacist, and public servant deeply rooted in his community.
McDonald is an alumnus of Keveny Memorial Academy and the Albany College of Pharmacy where he received a BS in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1985 and was later awarded a Doctorate of Humanity. As President of Marra’s Pharmacy, his family-owned business based in Cohoes, McDonald has practiced his profession and has adopted business practices and responsibilities that have led the business to become one of the largest independent pharmacy operations in the Capital Region.
Prior to being elected to the New York State Assembly in November 2012, John served as Mayor of Cohoes for 13 years. As a state legislator, he continues to focus on expanding economic opportunity, addressing the statewide imbalance in education funding, advocating for financial security for seniors, creating secure and sustainable middle class jobs, providing quality housing opportunities, stopping unfunded mandates that continue to drown local governments and negatively impact taxpayers, and reducing the senseless rules and regulations that burden businesses.
John enjoys running and golfing, however his most prominent activity is spending time with his wife Renee, and his children Emma Rose, Liam John and Sophia Mary.