Frank Rizzo | Democrat
Claudia Tenney listens as county GOP Chairman Richard Coombe introduces her at last Wednesday's Republican gathering at the Villa Roma. Tenney, vying for the newly-formed 101st Assembly District (which includes Coombe's own Town of Neversink) made the three-hour trip from Utica to plead for vote
'Vote for us'
Story by Frank Rizzo
CALLICOON Republican hopefuls made their pitches to the Republican faithful gathered at The Club at the Villa Roma Resort last Wednesday.
From Gary Linton's challenge of Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther to Senator John Bonacic's searing criticism of the Obama presidency and NYS Assembly, the GOP argued that winning upcoming elections would translate into a better, more prosperous era at all levels.
Bloomingburg's Linton, a political neophyte, will vie against Gunther in the newly formed 100th Assembly District which covers all of Sullivan County except the Town of Neversink.
In making the case for Linton, GOP Chairman Richard Coombe tied Gunther to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, under a cloud for allegedly making a payoff in a sexual harassment case against Democratic Assemblyman Vito Lopez.
"Isn't it funny how taxpayers dollars bailed these people out? Gary Linton is here. That can change," said Coombe after noting, "I like Aileen a lot. We've worked together. But she votes 86 percent of the time with Shelly Silver."
Coombe revealed that the late Jake Gunther was a supporter of his, and replaced him as assembly representative. Wife Aileen took over the seat after Jake's death in 2003 and has handily won elections since.
"I can say something to you for the first time in public. Aileen Gunther is no Jake Gunther," Coombe pronounced.
After a moment of silence, applause broke out.
Coombe also read a letter of support for Linton from Chairman Roy Innis of the Congress of Racial Equality.
"During this time of economic hardship for the state, your experience in building small businesses and creating jobs is greatly needed," the letter said.
"I'm still having trouble dealing with seeing my name on [outdoor] signs," Linton confessed, and went on to note how the National Tax Foundation recently ranked the state last for its business-friendly climate.
"We can't keep going on this path. We have to change this. You know my background. Business job creation and development. That is what we need," Linton concluded.
Senator Bonacic stressed the importance of keeping the Senate in Republican hands.
"We saw what happened when we lost our majority in 2009 and 2010. The highest taxes in state history, dismantling a lot of [Governor George] Pataki reform measures on welfare and food stamps and residency," Bonacic said.
He went to confess that "When I go to church and pray, I now pray for my country, [something] I've never done before. I'm so worried about the direction this country is going and has gone for the past four yearsâ| bigger government, higher taxes, more entitlements, [marching] to socialism as fast as [Obama] can run."
After talking about "the battle for the heart and soul of America," Bonacic again stressed "the need for the NYS Senate to stay Republican, because we're the last firewall to disaster in the state."
But the presidential election seemed uppermost in Bonacic's mind.
"Go out and talk, one American to another, because the survival of our country is at stake," he concluded. "Stay strong, and let's all pray for America."
NYS Supreme Court Judges E. Michael Kavanagh and Bernard Malone, along with newly-formed 101st Assembly District candidate Claudia Tenney all made the long trip to the Callicoon Beechwoods.
County Family Court Judge Michael Meddaugh also spoke.