By Matt Youngfrau
BLOOMINGBURG June 4, 2002 On Tuesday, November 5 of this year Election Day the seats for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, 98th Assembly District Seat, Sullivan County District 3 and 4 Legislator, and Sullivan County Family Court Judge will be up for grabs. Plus, once all the district lines have been re-drawn due to the 2000 U.S. Census, one or two United States Congressional seats will be decided.
Although Election Day is five months away, candidates have begun their campaigns. The Sullivan County Democratic Party held a brunch on Sunday, June 2 to introduce some of those Democratic candidates in the forthcoming elections.
About 40 Democrats were in attendance at the Eagles Nest in Bloomingburg to talk to Lieutenant Governor hopeful Dennis Mehiel, New York State Assemblyman Jake Gunther, Sullivan County District 4 Legislator Jonathan Rouis, and Sullivan County Family Court Judge candidate Elissa Killian.
"This is an important year," stated Sullivan County Democratic Party Chair Bob Krutman. "After the election, we should be able to tell who will have control of the [County] Legislature next year."
At the brunch, Krutman announced that District 8 Legislator Bob Kunis withdrew his name from consideration to be the new chair of the County Legislature (the former chair, Rusty Pomeroy, resigned May 31). That leaves the choices as District 1 Legislator Chris Cunningham and District 7 Legislady Leni Binder. Krutman said a new chair should be chosen shortly by the Democratic majority.
Krutman then introduced Mehiel. While Mehiel is a newcomer to running for office, he has worked with the Democratic Party, including being Westchester County Party Chair, for 25 years. He is a private businessman who feels that he and gubernatorial candidate H. Carl McCall make a winning combination.
"We have to turn the state around," Mehiel remarked. "The governor has not delivered, nor has he tried. We have to change that. We need to go with our values and priorities."
United States Congressman Maurice Hinchey made what could be one of his last visits to Sullivan County as its representative. The district lines are being redrawn throughout the state, and there is a good possibility Sullivan County will lose either Hinchey or Congressman Ben Gilman as a representative. A decision and the resulting plan is expected either Monday or Tuesday of next week.
"The jury is still out," commented Hinchey. "The State Legislature is working hard to come up with a plan. I believe in the people of Sullivan County. I look forward to continuing to work with you."
Killian was introduced as the Democratic Partys Family Court Judge candidate. She is currently the Village of Liberty Justice and is expected to hold a formal press conference announcing her intentions on Wednesday.
"The Family Court system needs some drastic changes," Killian said. "It will be a tough race. I am the right person for the job."
All candidates will be officially named at the Sullivan County Democratic Convention on Thursday. The Republican Party will hold their convention the same night.