Many of Albany's longest serving lawmakers have spent several decades at the state Capitol, but a new Assembly seat candidate didn't celebrate her 20th birthday until earlier this winter. Matt Hunter reports.
MALTA, N.Y. – Calling herself an “average American,” Morgan Zegers looks no different from your typical 20-year-old, but the Ballston Spa High School graduate has quite lofty goals for her first job after college graduation next year.
"It's time for a new generation in Albany is what I would say," said Zeggers, who attends American University in Washington, D.C.
Already with more than $6,000 in her campaign war chest, the young Republican plans to challenge Democrat Carrie Woerner in New York's 113th Assembly District in 2018.
"When I was in high school I joined the VFW and I really liked the meetings,” said Zeggers. “That was about it, I wasn't interested in politics at all and kind of as I grew up, I saw more women in politics and it just sparked my interest."
One inspiration in particular is Albany native Elise Stefanik, who Zegers began interning for shortly after the then 30-year-old became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress in 2014.
"There's that quote, 'you can't be what you can't see' and I didn't really think about that until it happened to me,” said Zeggers, who was on stage with Stefanik after she was re-elected this past November. “I don't think I would've been able to sign the paperwork and become a candidate if I hadn't seen it in my own backyard."
The daughter of a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard, veterans affairs is a top priority for Zegers, as is finding ways to reduce student loan debt and expand job opportunities for fellow young people.
"I want them to feel comfortable knowing they can grow up in New York and stay in New York and have a really good life here," said Zeggers, who only hopes to serve a few terms before going into business with her father.
Zeggers also supports efforts to repeal the controversial SAFE Act in upstate New York.
"I am big on the Second Amendment,” Zeggers said. “I am a member of the NRA and I just feel strongly about all of that."
Still more than a year away from earning her degree, Zegers views her youth not as a weakness, but an asset.
"Obviously they are going to use that against me but I don't see my age has anything but helpful,” Zeggers said. “I also bring a unique, but I would say it is needed, a needed experience."