County Dems’ chair says Ritchie should move away from GOP candidate for governor
Friday, September 17, 2010 - 12:05 pm

The St. Lawrence County Democratic Party chairperson has co-signed a letter to Republican state Senate candidate Patricia Ritchie urging her to separate herself politically from Carl Paladino, who won the Republican gubernatorial nomination in this week’s primary.

“We are writing to ask you to immediately disavow and disassociate your campaign from Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino,” says the letter, signed by county Democratic Chair Mark Bellardini, and also signed by the Democratic Party chairs for Oswego and Jefferson counties.

“We are also calling on you to withdraw your efforts to share Paladino’s fringe third party ballot line...This is a man who has not only made statements and engaged in activities that are offensive to many, but has also proposed specific ideas that would harm our communities,” the letter says.

Ritchie is St. Lawrence County clerk and the GOP candidate to try to unseat state Sen. Darrel Aubertine, whose 48th District encompasses Oswego and Jefferson counties and several towns in western St. Lawrence county.

The text of the letter follows:

Dear Mrs. Ritchie:

We are writing to ask you to immediately disavow and disassociate your campaign from Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino. We are also calling on you to withdraw your efforts to share Paladino’s fringe third party ballot line.

The selection of Mr. Paladino in Tuesday’s Republican primary has brought to the forefront serious concerns for all of us here in Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties. This is a man who has not only made statements and engaged in activities that are offensive to many, but has also proposed specific ideas that would harm our communities.

Obviously you are well aware of the stories about sexually explicit, racially insensitive and offensive material Mr. Paladino has distributed. These emails, which include Mr. Paladino’s own reprehensible comments, are unbecoming of a person running to represent the people.

Beyond the raw offensiveness of Mr. Paladino’s personal conduct, the few ideas he has shared with the public show a disturbing lack of logic and are built on a hateful, offensive approach to courting voters.

Consider Mr. Paladino’s proposal to use our state prisons as re-education centers for welfare recipients, teaching them hygiene, among other life skills. The counties of Oswego, St. Lawrence and Jefferson are rural communities that have historically suffered with higher than average unemployment. Our problems have nothing to do with hygiene. We need more jobs, and we need elected officials who will fight for good jobs, not a closed-minded bigot who thinks all we need is a shower and a new toothbrush.

Mr. Paladino’s plans for our prison communities represent surrender in our ongoing fight to keep our prisons open and thousands of people employed across our communities. Is his plan to retrain our corrections officers so they can teach hygiene? This is a bad idea on so many levels.

As a candidate who has actively pursued a partnership with Mr. Paladino, the voters of our region deserve to know exactly how you feel about this and the other crazy and offensive things Mr. Paladino has shared with the public to this point. Patricia Ritchie

Mr. Paladino is also something of a hypocrite. While trying to ride a wave of voter anger at government spending, he himself built his $150 million personal fortune off of government contracts. He was able to win and maintain these contracts by contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars to political campaigns. He is the poster child of the broken pay-to-play system.

Now, Mr. Paladino has vowed to spend $10 million or more of his personal wealth to buy the governorship for himself. That is the same amount the Buffalo News reports he receives in rent payments annually from local, state and federal government contracts.

It’s important that the people in the 48th Senate District know where you stand on Mr. Paladino. He has stated quite clearly that those who accept his new ballot line are expected to ally with his platform. That platform includes not just closing our prisons and creating welfare internment camps, but scaling back funding for our healthcare system and freezing all state grant funding. This would dry up vital funding for everything from our highways and snowmobile trails to our parks and farms.

Your desperate efforts to join Mr. Paladino’s third ballot line raise serious questions about your candidacy and the voters are entitled to have these questions answered. By joining a handful of other fringe candidates in petitioning to share Mr. Paladino’s line, you have effectively taken the position as Mr. Paladino’s North Country running mate.

Do you support a man who sends around emails contrary to the family values we all hold, has profited from the very spending he claims he would cut, and has established a platform that would hurt Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties? We, therefore, call on you to immediately disavow your affiliation with Mr. Paladino’s campaign and ballot line. We anxiously await your response.

Sincerely

Mark Bellardini, Chair

St. Lawrence County Democratic Committee

Sean Hennessey, Chair

Jefferson County Democratic Committee

Mike Kunzwiler, Chair

Oswego County Democratic Committee