The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports


September 8, 2009

My Turn: I can't run for office, but what have I done?

This week's "My turn" column is by Gary Herzig, chief operating officer of Opportunities for Otsego.

Each year, when our election season approaches, I am painfully reminded that I am not eligible to run for political office.

Because of things that I have done in the past, and continue to do, Congress has prohibited me from running in any political election. I am prohibited from representing my neighbors on the Oneonta Common Council or on the Otsego County Board of Representatives.

What, you may ask, have I done to deserve this? I will tell you _ I earn my living by helping poor people.

As the chief operating officer for Opportunities for Otsego, I am proud to be part of a team of hard-working, dedicated and caring staff that helps our county's most vulnerable residents overcome crises and develop long-term plans to achieve increased levels of self-sufficiency.

Our staff includes Head Start teachers and bus drivers, shelter associates, employment counselors, crime-victim advocates, family support workers, food-bank coordinators and others.

Most of them, like me, have been prohibited from running for any political office by The Hatch Act of 1939.

Officially known as An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, the Hatch Act of 1939 was a reaction to widespread allegations of misuse of Works Progress Administration funds during the congressional elections of 1938.

Among other things, this act prohibited federal employees from membership in any political organization that advocated the overthrow of our constitutional form of government and from engaging in partisan political activity.

Modifications to the Hatch Act, over time, have permitted some federal employees to have greater participation in the political process without being permitted to run for office.

The intent of Congress, I do not believe, was to disenfranchise groups of people such as pre-school teachers and school bus drivers by prohibiting their full participation in the political process.

Text Only
Big Chuck D'Imperio
Cary Brunswick

Chuck Pinkey
Guest Column

Lisa Miller

Mark Simonson
Rick Brockway

Sam Pollak
William Masters
  • Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues

    As the time to vote draws near, we need to remember how money can run politics more than we can. Raising funds is a prominent (if not the dominant) task of getting elected. Raising issues is also crucial, but those efforts are subject to distortion and fear-mongering.

    September 18, 2012

  • Republicans feelentitled to allthey can garner

    An entitlement is a legal benefit available from the government to individuals who are within a defined category of recipients, such as needing insurance for unemployment or health services.

    September 4, 2012

  • Romney focuses on self; Obama emphasizes unity

    Mitt Romney criticizes President Obama for saying a person's success is rooted in his community, and is not all his alone. Romney belittles this with his belief in individual initiative. He is better at the put-down than the push-up.

    August 21, 2012

  • Romney shows little regard for common man

    The Republicans in Congress have voted over and over, 33 times, redundantly and uselessly, to rescind what they call Obamacare.

    August 7, 2012

  • Scouts' gay ban creates problem where none exists

    The Boy Scouts of America's "emphatic reaffirmation" of its vow to exclude any and all homosexuals from its hallowed ranks is ill-considered and pathetic, especially in view of its having reviewed the matter for two years.

    July 24, 2012

Additional Content
Join the Debate
Additional Resources
CNHI News Service

Do you plan to attend the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction?

Not sure
     View Results