County Dems meet their candidates
Published: Monday, August 8, 2011 2:09 AM EDT
By W.T. Eckert
HUDSON — Columbia County Democrats gathered Sunday for the 58th annual Columbia County Democratic Committee Picnic at the Federation of Polish Sportsmen to meet its candidates in this November’s elections.
Mingling over hot dogs, corn on the cob and frosty beverages, candidates and their supporters had the opportunity to get to know one another and the issues that mattered most to them.
Running currently unopposed for Alderman Third Ward, John Friedman finds the waterfront to be a key issue for him on his campaign.
“It’s the key to what happens in the city in the next 50 years,” Friedman said. “I would like to see a marina and some additional water development, like some light manufacturing down there.”
He said he had interest in additional venues for art and performances with the hopes of a full service hotel.
New York state Senate candidate Terry Gipson wandered the picnic ground shaking hands and said that he wanted to get a jump on his campaign. The district covers all of Columbia County and much of Dutchess County.
“We have been at this for five months and we’re going to do it for another fifteen,” Gipson said. “We’re up to it.”
He said it was early in the campaign and that he was still working on his platform, though he said the two issues that will still remain by next year are job creation and economic recovery.
“We are slipping into a two-class society [rich and poor],” Gipson said. “You can’t sustain a state without a middle class. You can’t sustain a country without a middle class. You need us, and New York state is working against us.”
A stable working economy and middle class is only going to be achieved by putting new faces in the Senate, he said.
“Those that have been in Congress for 20 to 25 years have lost touch,” he said.
Opposing first-term Rep. Chris Gibson, a Republican, in next year’s congressional race, is Dutchess County Legislator Joel Tyner.
“Are we going to take this district back?” Tyner asked the crowd. “I can’t do it without you. We need to set up real majority organizations in the 10 [counties in the 20th District]. We need a real majority organization in Columbia County.”
Democratic nominee for Columbia County District Attorney Gene Keeler had two key elements to his campaign.
“First, people are desirous of an open, accessible and accountable D.A.’s office,” Keeler said. “And second, the social, economic and political discrimination of the last 23 years will end [if elected into office]. What’s going on in the D.A.’s office now is mind boggling. The close shop that is going on has to stop.”
Standing before a pavilion of supporters, Dr. George Davis, nominee for county coroner said he couldn’t help but recognize all the puns along his campaign.
“I don’t want to talk about anything too ‘grave,’” Davis said. “I’ve been your coroner for four years and with your help, I’ll be your coroner for four more years. I hope there aren’t ‘dead’ beats out there.”
Copake Town Councilman Bob Sacks said that the weapon of choice for the Democrats is “that they take the high road.”
“If we work hard, we will win,” Sacks said. “We have a qualified candidate for treasurer; the [the Republicans] don’t.”
Sacks brought before the crowd Peter Stoll, an accountant and nominee for county treasurer.
“I came on board to great change, “Stoll said. “There are great efforts in fundraising. The current administration did not file their Annual Update Report for 2009 yet. That will not happen with me in office. I will be a hands-on, full-time treasurer, unlike my opponent [Republican nominee P.J Keeler].”
Each of the candidates voiced the importance of the public.
Hudson City Judge Richard Koweek, the nominee for county judge, addressed the crowd in closing and reiterated what the candidates before him asked: that the help of the people and the party is going to be a great asset in succeeding in the election.
Mayoral candidate Nicholas Haddad stepped up to the microphone to voice his support of the candidates.
“I’m here to say that I’m 100 percent behind them,” Haddad said. “I’m delighted to be a soon-to-be member of the Democratic Party — a party, he said, “that is based on fairness, openness and transparency.”