Leib: A New Choice, A New Voice

By Erika Mahoney

October 25, 2012 Updated Oct 26, 2012 at 12:04 PM EDT

Oneonta, NY (WBNG Binghamton) It's the first time Howard Leib has ever had his name on a ballot, and he is running against a 13 term incumbent.

"Without a challenger, we can never change things in Albany," he said.

When Leib went to vote two years ago, he said he looked at the ballot and saw there was only name listed for New York's 51st Senate District, his opponent Senator James Seward.

But now, he's vying for that seat.

"There should always be a choice for the voters. And I said somebody has to run now, even if it has to be me. I didn't really expect it would be, but two years later, it had to be me."

Leib is an intellectual property and entertainment lawyer from Dryden.

One of the first things he wants to do is legalize medical marijuana.

"It's really a no-brainer, we're not a leader in this anymore. It has proven to be non-hazardous, it would be again, a jobs bill for farmers in our area, we've never needed price supports for marijuana."

He also wants to bring in a single-payer health care system.

"We will allow people to get the care they need, and people who say, well we don't need to do that, well we are doing it now. We're simply using emergency rooms as a substitute for this sort of thing, and that is the most expensive way to deliver health care."

When it comes to natural gas development, Leib said he is strongly against hydrofracking.

And when asked what is the one thing he would change, he said he would raise the minimum wage. Leib said he knows what it means to struggle to make ends meet.

"I'm running for state senate to represent the middle class, people who work hard, people who everyday struggle, and who I can relate to because I know what it means to lose a job to down sizing," said Leib. "I know what it means to go out into the market and find health insurance. I have worked in the real world my entire life."

And though that may be true, Leib said, if elected he will be happy working in Albany.