Delaware County Republicans gathered for their annual breakfast Saturday at The Castle Restaurant in Walton. Local and state legislators reinforced missions to repeal the NY SAFE Act, comment on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s education package and correct the health insurance exchange problems.
“The strategy is service,” said Congressman Chris Gibson of the 19th Congressional District. “We are here to serve regardless of party.”
“Legislators will vote next week on the Farm Rural Bill,” said Gibson, “and the next action will be the Water Bill, aimed to get money upstate for flood mitigation and recovery on a larger scale.”
After the event, Gibson said the Water Bill will reform the Army Corp of Engineers’ abilities.
“It will reflect more responsibility,” he said.
Gibson serves on the Watershed Advisory Group and is running for re-election this year. From the podium, Gibson encouraged all Republicans to ramp up efforts.
Speaking of his possible Democratic Party opponent, Sean Eldridge, Gibson said, “We will not take to fear. Campaign money is not power. But our, and your, integrity is.”
Sean Eldridge’s website reports that he serves as the president of Kingston-based Hudson River Ventures, an investment company that has created local jobs and grown small businesses throughout the region. Openly gay, he is married to Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook.
Gibson focused on growth at the breakfast, giving the Ioxus ultra capacitor company in Oneonta as an example, said, “I’ll work to revitalize policies that attract manufacturing.”
Also running for re-election this year in Delaware County is Sheriff Tom Mills.
“I want to seek out the solution to the drug problem in upstate New York,” said Mills.
Undersheriff Craig DuMond gave a short presentation outlining the development of a newly formed drug task force.
“The effort is to work at a local level, involving all agencies,” said DuMond. “We need to have treatment services available to drug offenders at the first or second arrests, not later arrests. We need to fix the cause and not only deal with the symptoms.”
The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office has assigned one road patrol deputy from the Criminal Investigation Division exclusively for drug investigation. A school substation program has also been implemented. “The Task Force is currently determining the board of directors for the force,” added DuMond.
State Sen. James Seward said he wants to repeal the NY SAFE Act, saying, “It’s a steep uphill climb to repeal the act through legislation; however, we won’t give up. We need to keep bringing it to the forefront and fighting to correct the bill.”
Also of note was the New York Health Insurance Exchange, “More than 100,000 insurance policies were canceled in the state,” said Seward. “We’ve identified the problems and are prepared to fix them.”
“We’ve received good results from pushing back on spending when there is no money,” added Seward. “We finally have a budget surplus rather than a deficit, and legislators can discuss tax cuts rather than tax increases.”
State Rep. Clifford Crouch said, “Gov. Cuomo will take credit for the $10 billion surplus, but you the people did it. We also fought back when Cuomo proposed closure of the Greater Binghamton Health Center, but more work needs to be done. The next problem is keeping the Broome Developmental Center open.”
Crouch is also primed to tweak the gap elimination bill to reverse the fund cutting to rural schools and said, “The tax credit cuts for manufacturing pleases me.”
Assemblyman Pete Lopez said: “It’s critical we stay united and keep working.”
Harpersfield Supervisor Jim Eisel gave a snapshot of the state of Delaware County, saying, “Sales tax revenue is up but we need to be vigilant on how we spend the money,” adding, “Shop locally.”
The fight for tax relief was reiterated and Eisel also said, “Gov. Cuomo doesn’t mention hydrofracking, but this would be a bonus to the southern tier.”
State Sen. John Bonacic said: “We will fight for the heart and soul that made America great, pushing against the socialist moves made by President Obama.”
Bonacic spoke on the benefits of a possible casino being built in Sullivan County saying, “The revenue would add to the education budget and property revenues.”
After closing remarks were made by Delaware County Republican Committee Chairwoman Maria Kelso, the casino issue brought a wondering remark from Steve Reed, a Hamden councilman, who said, “A casino would be OK, but it will need people with good-paying jobs and money to throw away to keep it going. Where do those people come from?”
“The bottom line is, we all need to get involved in the politics that affect us,” said Shirley Niebacnk, a Meredith resident. “Though 14 of the 19 supervisors in Delaware County are Republican, we all need to attend meetings and make sure things are done right.”