Get to know the Republican candidates for NYS Assembly District 100

Camille O'Brien will face Lou Ingrassia on Thursday, June 25

Posted 6/18/24

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Two Republican candidates vying to represent NYS Assembly District 100 are on the GOP state primary ballot on Thursday, June 25.

The 100th encompasses most of …

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Get to know the Republican candidates for NYS Assembly District 100

Camille O'Brien will face Lou Ingrassia on Thursday, June 25


SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Two Republican candidates vying to represent NYS Assembly District 100 are on the GOP state primary ballot for the election on Thursday, June 25.

The 100th District encompasses most of Sullivan and a portion of Orange around the Middletown area. Camille O’Brien of Sullivan County and Lou Ingrassia Jr. of Orange County are running to fill the seat being vacated by Democrat Aileen Gunther, who is retiring after serving in the Assembly for more than 20 years.

The winner will run against Democrat Paula Kay in the general election on November 5. Kay had no challenger in the Democratic primary. 

Registered Republican voters in Sullivan County can vote early at the Government Center in Monticello as well as Sullivan County Public Health in Liberty until Sunday, June 23.

Camille O’Brien

Early life
O’Brien grew up in Minisink Valley, in Orange County. Her father was an FDNY firefighter and her mother operated a hair salon until her fifth child was born and O'Brien's mother became a stay-at-home mom. 

O'Brien told the River Reporter that her life drastically changed after 9/11. Her father subsequently suffered from PTSD and battled alcoholism. Her mother became extremely ill due to a pregnancy complication and a subsequent hysterectomy.

O'Brien was 16 when her mother died and said in the days between her mother's death and funeral she got her braces off and got her driver's license.

Her father's PTSD and her mother’s health complications made her an advocate for mental and women's health, O’Brien says.

With scholarships to attend Hofstra University. O'Brien chose to live at home to help her family during her freshman year. She transferred the following year to SUNY Orange so she could better help raise her siblings. “I’ve always put family first,” O'Brien says. She eventually transferred to Baruch College in New York City, where she finished her degree once her younger sister got her driver's license. 

O'Brien graduated from SUNY Orange with an associate's degree in  Accounting and got her Bachelors from CUNY Baruch with a major in Entrepreneurship and Small business management, with a minor in Law and Policy. O'Brien worked her way through college in management positions in the food industry, retail, and summer camps in Orange and Sullivan Counties. She also worked as a tax preparer and maintained books for businesses.

When discussing what drew her to politics and running for the Assembly, O'Brien told the River Reporter, “I’ve always been a learner, and that’s ever since I was little. If I don't understand something I learn it. And that's been it ever since I was little. If I don't understand something I like to learn more.”

Another early catalyst for O’Brien’s interest in government was when she was chosen to attend Girls State and Girls Nation, a summer program sponsored by the American Legion for high school students. It focuses on exploring the mechanics of American government and politics, and participants build a model government. 

It was in these programs that O'Brien says she learned “that it’s all about public service. I learned that you represent everybody. It’s a service and it wasn’t based on ego. I’ve always been a service type of person, a helpful person. You service the community. You go listen to everybody and try to make things happen—that’s what it's supposed to be.” O’Brien also represented her peers at Baruch College, where she served as the Director of Student Legislative Affairs.

Why O’Brien for NYS Assembly District 100?
O'Brien says she has “the broadest experience and a broad knowledge base" from her work with Sen. Mike Martucci (R-42) and over 10 years of legislative experience.

O’Brien has worked for  Martucci and NYS Sen. Peter Oberacker Jr. (R-51). Before working for Sen. Martucci, O'Brien served as the Chief of Staff to the Assistant Speaker of the Assembly where she ran the Albany and District Offices overseeing staff and interns. 

 “My extensive experience has been particularly in state legislation. This particular position, I'm very familiar with. I’ve seen the office for both assembly and state, I’ve worked every job in an assembly office… I can get in on the first day and pass a bill and hopefully get ahead of other bills,” says O'Brien.

“I don’t come from a political angle,” and “ I understand what it's like to be a working person and don't necessarily fit into the normal political mode... I'm ready to do the work and I've been doing the work.” 

Her philosophy is based on listening. "I don't like telling people what to think. I like to hear and put together the best solution and the best decision,” she says. 

She received the official endorsement of the Sullivan County Republican Committee and received an endorsement from the NYS Conservative Party, which canceled its primary this year. She has also been endorsed by the Teamsters Local 445 for the primary. 

O’Brien’s policy and platforms

SUNY school funding 
As director of legislative affairs under Martucci, O’Brien says tuition and state funding of the SUNY system were students' main concerns. As an assembly member, she says that she will "push for legislation to shift the burden from the counties back to the state.” Which, she says, is particularly important for counties like Sullivan that do not have large tax bases. “I think our community colleges are very important, especially for middle and lower-class students.” 

Discussing the state's agreement to fund one-third of community college's operational costs, O’Brien says, “I would push for legislation for the state to honor the contract,...if you make promises you got to keep them. Otherwise, your words are not worth anything.”

Health care
O'Brien says she's focused on fixing the “health care desert” in the area. “It comes down to the calculator for insurance reimbursements," and she wants to work to raise reimbursement rates in the area “so providers will jump back on board.”

Lowering prescription drug costs is another of O’Brien’s priorities. One of the things affecting the price increase in prescription drugs is a pharmacy benefit manager, O'Brien says. She says the benefit manager position, which was introduced as a middleman between drug companies and pharmacies to try and regulate the process, has “actually turned into a mechanism that has caused prices to go up, and it’s particularly harming our private and family-owned pharmacies."

O'Brien says that the state budget needs to be more balanced. “There are billions of dollars going to the city because of the border crisis, that when it comes down to it has been caused by sanctuary city policy,” which she says are “very much intertwined in the excessive spending and the lack of resources we have here in rural New York.”

Bail reform
As an assembly member, O’Brien says she will introduce “Billy's Law” first. The bill would repeal certain aspects of bail reform related to felony arson charges. As a staff member for Martucci, O’Brien worked with the family of Billy Steinberg, a firefighter who died on duty fighting a fire that was set by an alleged serial arsonist who was out of jail on bail at the time of the fire. O’Brien says working to repeal bail reform laws is necessary. "This wasn’t the first arson for this guy; this was the third in a week." O'Brien says she thinks Steinberg's passing was because of bail reform.

O'Brien says, "I have, you know, over a decade of working legislative experience specifically with state policy. I've always valued honesty, character, and integrity, and that's something everybody who's ever worked with me knows about me."

Emergency services: EMS and Fire
“I managed the Sullivan County district office to work with constituents, towns, fire districts, first responders, law enforcement, businesses and organizations to navigate their state issues,” she says on her website ( “My knowledge and community involvement led me to be hired by Sullivan County to manage the county’s Drug Task Force, where I continue to work to alleviate the excessive burden that has been placed on our law enforcement and first responders like EMS squads that deserve to be deemed an essential service. Our state needs to be doing more to protect New Yorkers.”

Lou Ingrassia Jr.

Early life
Born and raised in Wallkill, Ingrassia says he has no intention of leaving.

Ingrassia’s grandfather immigrated to the United States from Italy and raised Ingrassia’s father, aunts and uncles with the idea that “you should be a part of your community and you should serve your community.”

 “He was proud to be an American, and a new American back then, so throughout my childhood, my mother and father were very involved in public service,” Ingrassia told the River Reporter.

Ingrassia’s father sat on the zoning board, planning board, school board and town board when he was growing up: “We were always exposed to public service and the noble calling that it is. As I became a young adult, it was just in my bloodstream." 

Ingrassia said at a very young age he "became very involved with the community at various levels, through the fire service, the March of Dimes and the Elks Club.”

Why Ingrassia for NYS Assembly District 100?
Ingrassia says his more than 40 years of experience at the county and municipal level makes him the best Republican candidate for NYS Assembly District 100.

When he was just 20 years old, Ingrassia started his career in government at the Town of Wallkill Department of Public Works where he’s worked for 38 years. Also, Ingrassia has been a member of the Howells Volunteer Fire Department for 42 years. 

Igrassia also co-directs the Office of Emergency Management. He said he was maxing out on his career in state government when Aileen Gunther announced she would not be seeking reelection. “I’ve been a lifelong resident and 40-year Republican... It became very intriguing and very interesting that one facet of my public career can be wrapped and another facet may be opening up.” 

“I’ve spent a tremendous amount of time throughout my government life interacting with government at all levels, both local and state. I’ve spent a lot of time in Albany lobbying for highway money, CHIP funding and water and sewer infrastructure,” Ingrassia says about his prior government experience.

“I get satisfaction. out of helping people. I'm a consistent volunteer,” he says. “Do your best work when nobody's watching,” is a saying Ingrassia lives by. “The work I've done, I certainly haven't done it for accolades or anything like that. I like to lift people up; I like to find the best in people.”

“My glass is always half full," he added. "I was born and raised here…I have no desire to leave and in the time I have left I’d like to make a difference for not only myself but for my children, family and community.”

He received the official Orange County Republican Committee's endorsement.

Policy platforms

Emergency services: EMS and Fire
Ingrassia has 42 years of volunteer firefighter service under his belt and has served two terms as fire chief. He is currently an elected fire commission in the house fire district, which borders Sullivan County and covers parts like Wallkill, the Town of Mount Hope in Orange County, and the Town of Mamakating in Sullivan County.

Ingrassia says his firefighting paired with his involvement in local DPW associations throughout the general Hudson Valley for “the past 38 years interacting with folks in both Orange and Sullivan, I just feel like I have a very good skill set, I have the knowledge, and I’ve got the experience to serve the residents of the 100th district and the New York State Assembly."

“Fire departments and EMS are struggling,” he adds. “I’ve lived that experience for the past 42 years." Ingrassia says he believes that the volunteer system isn’t working today. "The special change that we need to do is incentivize the volunteer system which could be through a series of income tax credits that could."

Ingrassia expressed the importance of addressing the increasing call volume and demand from EMS as a state assembly candidate. "We're not going to solve these issues by just throwing money at it. What we need to do is figure out where we’re going with EMS, we need to reward our volunteers for what they're doing now, and we need to incentivize their services to keep them doing what they're doing, because they do a tremendous job and we don't want to break the bank while doing it. Maybe a little collaboration between paid ambulances and volunteering. There are so many EMS deserts. "

Another way is to ensure reimbursement criteria gives money directly to the provider and not through the insurance company, says Ingrassia.

“I know the Jeffersonville volunteer ambulance corps has been struggling and you know they've been trying to stay afloat, and I would do everything in my power to assist with that," he says.

"I’ve done numerous lobbying efforts on behalf of volunteer emergency services and I would continue to do that in the assembly,” he adds. “I consider myself a subject matter expert on the volunteer system and how the volunteer system works—and its struggles. Having someone at the table that's actually lived it, walked it, been in the trenches, I fit that bill.”

Read more about fire and EMS in Sullivan County here.

Cost of living and child care
Coming from a family of five children Ingrassia says child care is “paramount.”

Even Ingrassia's experience when he and his wife were a two-income family “was problematic 20-something years ago, and now fast forward, just to the point where we are today. Where it’s almost impossible to have, especially as a single-earner family, [or] if you’re a single spouse or individual with children.”

Ingrassia says he believes that “we need to bring service to where the people are. Regionalization of things is fine, but it doesn't help if I live in a rural area of either Orange or Sullivan County—the only child care that is available in Middletown, Wallkill, Monticello, Liberty—that certainly doesn't help."

To bring services to where the people are Ingrassia says, “The funding we’re using at the state level for other programs and other problems is certainly not being solved by throwing money at it and needs to be reallocated to where it can better take care of individuals that are in the district and need services—especially child care.”

Ingrassia says this is particularly important as “ the private places out there are literally charging an arm and a leg for child care. I understand business comes at a cost, however the government—specifically the state, county and local governments—need to work collaboratively better together to provide services in an area that is underserved.”

SUNY school funding 
Ingrassia has personal ties to the SUNY system and says they’re “strategic for serving our communities.” His daughter and wife went to SUNY Orange but, "when it gets to a point when even local kids and people can’t take advantage of facilities in their backyard, that's a problem, that's a problem and the systems are broken. Once again, we always seem to slash funding at a state level in areas it shouldn't be slashed.”

“We need to take a look at sustaining the SUNY system—not just for the students, but for the... people who live and work in those communities.

"You know, the more they cut programs and the more they cut funding, that's not only precluding students from attending but also precluding people from  maintaining their livelihoods."

 He says because of that it would “definitely be a priority to get funding back not only to where it was, and/or needs to be, but to better prepare for the future so that our young people can come out of high school, and they can go into the SUNY system and they can either learn a trade, get a technical skill, food service, nursing education, and become a viable part of their community.”

Health care
Health care is another area Ingrassia wants to focus his legislative efforts on. Ingrassia says that Sullivan County is becoming a health care desert and that “at the end of the day it comes down to providing services that our community needs.”

“I would prioritize providing places where our youth can congregate, where we can give them someplace to recreate so they're not on the streets being led down a bad path,” Ingrassia says.

To do this Ingrassia plans to speak with insurance companies and say “Hey, listen, why are you underserving our community? You charge a premium, you take your percentage and have high costs.

“I tell people I pride myself on accessibility, I pride myself on transparency and I pride myself on solving problems and helping people. That’s what I've done my entire life, both personally and professionally. I have skills and attributes that would benefit the residents of the 100th district,” says Ingrassia.

Editors note: This article has been updated as of 10:30 A.M., June 19, to accurately reflect the official  Republican committee endorsements of Sullivan and Orange County. Previously, the article stated each candidate was endorsed by the Republican parties of Sullivan and Orange.  Also corrected is the fact that the 100th District includes only a portion of Orange County, not most of the county. Information about SUNY funding was corrected and additional information about the candidate's qualifications were added. 

Camille O'Brien, Lou Ingrassia, 100th Assembly District, New York State


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