By Matt Youngfrau
KIAMESHA LAKE October 23, 2001 Each year, prior to the elections, the major political parties get together for annual dinners. On Friday, October 19, it was the Sullivan County Conservative Partys turn, held at Fibbers at the Concord Golf Course.
The guest speaker was New York State Senator John Bonacic.
"The Conservative Party has always been a party of principles," Bonacic stated. "They measure their candidates. It is like a badge to be selected by the Conservative Party."
Bonacic touched on several important issues. First, he discussed casino gaming. He stated no deal had been made yet, but they were working on it. It is estimated that New York State will lose between 8 and 12 billion dollars in tourism revenue, he said. Bonacic added it would be discussed Monday in Albany. However, the main legislation to be discussed will be a bioterrorism bill.
Bonacic then turned to the World Trade Center attack on September 11 in great depth. He had visited the site eight days after the attack and was amazed by the strength and courage of the firefighters and police officers.
Bonacic detailed the number of businesses affected: approximately 10,000 in all. There have been several layoffs, and tourism has dropped throughout the country, as people are afraid to fly.
New York State Governor George Pataki estimated that it will take 54 billion dollars to rebuild New York. The United States government has pledged 20 billion dollars in assistance. Another 17 billion dollars will come from private insurance.
"For the short-term, people will not have that much money," remarked Bonacic. "Everyone will have to be patient, sacrifice, and do more with less."
Bonacic stated that it was expected the second-home market in Sullivan County would increase, as many will want to escape New York City and come to the area.
Bonacic received several standing ovations. Party Chair Bill Higgins thanked him and the other 60-plus people who came to the annual affair, which featured politicians and candidates from throughout the county.
The evening ended with Higgins encouraging everyone to get out and vote on November 6.