Election opinions from around St. Lawrence County: Cobb, Stefanik, Grigg, Curran, judges, other local races
Friday, November 2, 2018 - 10:51 am


Editor's Note: We have received dozens and dozens of Letters to the Editor supporting various candidates. Here are some of the most recent:

Opinion: Grigg will provide positive leadership if elected, says Massena man

Election Day 2018 is upon us. We have the opportunity to exercise that most fundamental idea of democracy – voting. One of the choices voters in Massena will have is who will be their legislator at the county level. I am asking you to make me your choice.

Earlier this year I began attending the Board of Legislators meetings missing only two of the 27 regular scheduled meeting dates. I attend these meetings because I believe it is vital that your legislator be accurately informed on the issues coming before the board. Massena deserves a legislator who can step in from day one with an ability to address the needs of this community as it relates to the rest of St. Lawrence County.

I understand the board’s actions concerning matters of economic development, infrastructure rejuvenation, and combatting the illegal drug issues we face. I have taken the time to attend these meetings, listen to, and talk with, the various department heads. So, I not only have the knowledge, but also the relationships established to be an effective member of the board.

Your legislator must also be available to serve. Serving as a county legislator requires 15 to 20 hours a week. I am available to serve on any of the committees whether they meet during the day or in the evenings. I will be available if there is a need to travel to Albany, Watertown or elsewhere to represent the district and county. I will also continue to be available to attend local village and town board meetings. In other words, with me as your county legislator, Massena will once again be at the table, where ever the table may be, providing the leadership and a voice on the issues; fully available to serve you when you need me; daytime or evening.

I firmly believe elected office is a privilege and service. It is not about me – it’s about you, our community and our county. This election is not about what a candidate has done in the past, but how he or she will work to improve the future of Massena and St. Lawrence County.

I believe that such leadership requires your legislator to get beyond his or her own interests and listen to the ideas of the residence of the community they serve. This distinguishes me from my opponents.

So, I ask for your vote on Tuesday, November 6th because you deserve positive leadership. You deserve someone with the ability to restore and build relationships across the board. You deserve someone who will serve you and provide a full, strong, and active voice in Canton; someone who will build positive relationships; someone who can understand and communicate all interest to the district residents, in order that, no matter what issue is at hand, we will face it as a community.

When the issue will benefit Massena, I will fight for it, and when the issue will hurt Massena, I will fight against it.

But either way, St. Lawrence County will know that Massena is leading the way into a positive future

Joel Grigg


Opinion: Stefanik is respected among Democrats, says Massena man

Democrats in the district sure do like to dog Elise Stefanik and her record. But all it takes is a couple Google searches to see that Democrats from Vermont, to Florida, and to Texas are happy working with her.

For example, Stefanik co-sponsored bills and fought for action with liberal flag-bearers like Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont and Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, to deliver results on environmental issues and border security issues respectively.

Stefanik’s willingness to reach across the aisle has earned her a place in the top 10 percent most-bipartisan members of Congress. In our time of heated debates, partisan talking heads, and protests about anything and everything, we need to keep leaders like Elise in Congress to be an example for our country.

If we send Tedra Cobb to Congress, we won’t get the same kind of moderate attention. Cobb will side with the far-left and work to derail the progress made by Elise and Republicans in Congress and the White House. We need a pragmatist and a team player, not a professional liberal activist, representing the North Country.

On November 6, vote for Elise, an independent voice for the North Country.

John R. Williams Jr.


Opinion: Curran understands concerns of North Country residents, says Massena man

I have known Rita Curran for several years and she is an exceptional lady who cares about North Country folks and our veterans. I first met her through the Massena Veterans Clinic where she goes above and beyond caring for our veterans.

I’m a disabled Vietnam veteran and I have never met anyone in the VA system as caring as nurse practitioner Rita Curran. After getting to know her I came to realize she is not only a VA nurse practitioner, but also works at the Massena Memorial Hospital emergency room caring for people.

She has a background in business dealing with men and women’s health issues.

Rita is running for St. Lawrence County Legislator, District 15, Louisville.

We need a county legislator who is familiar with the issues and understands the concerns of North Country residents and Rita is that person.

Brother veterans and residents of Louisville, get the word out and please vote for Rita on November 6th.

David J. Grose and Dierdre N. Grose


Opinion: Expanding time in office limits power of voters, says Lisbon resident

This upcoming election you will have a choice to vote to expand the terms of your superintendent, supervisor, and clerk from two years to four.

This will effectively cut your right to vote for your representation in half.

This was put onto the ballot legally like all other proposals and budgets: a public hearing was scheduled, then advertised a minimum of 72 hours before said hearing.

Unfortunately, this advertisement need only to run a few days in a local paper, and be no bigger than a free want ad. The public hearing was held, and like all other public meetings, no public attended. With the newspaper format and readership going the way of the dinosaurs, the lack of public attendance should come to no surprise.

Continuing on, as if the lack of public is due to interest, not notification, the board passes and implements items without representing the public.

Once four-year terms are in place it is very unlikely counsel will wish to return to two years. Once you find the constituency is misrepresented, the chance to run or vote in opposition is delayed by twice as long.

The board without public input wishes to cut your voting rights clean in half. Can you trust your government to work for you if they do not use the public to make policy? Would it not benefit the public to have as much public participation as possible?

How does the board expect the public to voice opinions or concerns and sway policy when they both cut your time in the booth in half, and use archaic notifications to draw people to speak with them?

How much strength does the voting public have left? Our public hearings are held at the fringe of legality without public awareness. Unbeknownst to 99% of the public, we’re running an administrative government, where you don't even get to vote for the person running the town. Budgets are moved at public hearings without a single member of the public present.

It makes it very easy to pull the strings affecting your life in this town when you don't know when or how to voice opposition. This should have been thrown away the second it was proposed, and have we heard the benefits of four year terms?

Absolutely not, because it's a case that need not be made, they have it on the ballot.

Voting to expand time in office limits your power as a voter.

Jonathan Teele


Opinion: Judge Alford has proven commitment to Ogdensburg, says Ogdensburg resident

I wish to publicly congratulate Gary Alford on his overwhelming victory in the September primary election for Ogdensburg city court judge. The margins of his success speak to his excellent performance on the job over these past five years, his broad-based support and his overall commitment to the community at large.

Judge Alford has proven his commitment and dedication to the position by always being available to law enforcement at all times of the day and night to sign warrants, answer questions and to do whatever is needed of him.

Judge Alford’s endorsements by the Ogdensburg Police Benevolent Association, Mayor Wayne Ashley and State Senator Patty Ritchie speak volumes and are all indicative of his excellent performance on the job.

I have had the privilege of practicing law before Judge Gary Alford in Ogdensburg City Court for the past five years and in my experience Judge Alford has always handled each and every case with fairness and individual care and consideration.

Our city needs and deserves a judge with Gary’s commitment, integrity, temperament and experience.

As Gary is the candidate that actually physically resides in the City of Ogdensburg, he truly has a vested interest in the safety of our streets and the betterment of the general health and welfare of Ogdensburg.

I ask that you join me in voting for Judge Gary Alford on Tuesday, November 6th.

Ramona A. Breen


Opinion: Former city mayor supports Alford as O’burg judge

Election Day is next week and I fully support the Honorable Judge Gary Alford as City Court Judge. I had the honor and privilege to appoint Judge Alford as the part time City Judge in January 2014 while I was Mayor of the City of Ogdensburg.

The decision to appoint Judge Alford proved to be an excellent decision. Judge Alford is a fair, consistent, compassionate Judge who rules from the bench with honesty, integrity, and moral righteousness.

The Ogdensburg Police Benevolent Association endorsement of Judge Alford acknowledges their trust in his commitment to the community including his availability to law enforcement day and night, seven days a week for warrants and arraignments.

Over the past four and one-half years Judge Alford has consistently demonstrated a strong work ethic with the knowledge and temperament fitting to be our City Court Judge.

He has the experience, proven dedication to the community, and has earned the respect of all.

Please vote for Judge Gary Alford as the City’s full time Judge for continuation of our experienced, efficient, and respected City Court Judge.

William D Nelson

Past mayor, City of Ogdensburg

Opinion: LeMay is only candidate with experience for judge position, says Ogdensburg resident

Marcia LeMay is truly the only candidate with the experience and integrity required to be Ogdensburg City Court judge.

What makes Marcia stand out among her opponents? She is the only candidate who was deemed qualified by the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Committee to be Ogdensburg judge.

She is the only candidate who actually spent her whole 22 year career as a trial attorney which is more than her opponent can claim.

She is the only candidate to work in the DA’s office and as Chief of the Public Defender’s Office, which gives her the unique view of both sides (as prosecutor and defense attorney) to understand what is required to run a court system.

Marcia is the only candidate to be a Special Prosecutor.

She is the only candidate to be on St Lawrence County Judicial Diversion Drug Court Team and will use her experience to help revitalize the City’s version of the Court Team which I found out many city residents did not know existed.

Marcia has given back to her community, the City of Ogdensburg, and continues to do so.

She is a Corporate Sponsor for the City Festival

She is a member and contributor to Chambers of Commerce Member. You probably saw her recently serving at Ogdensburg Octoberfest.

Marcia has been on the Claxton-Hospital Foundation for the last fourteen years.

Marcia is also a proud Sponsor of a Kiwanis Soccer Teams.

These are just a few things Marcia has done and continues to do. She will be fair, non-biaed, and a contributor to the City of Ogdensburg.

How do I know this? She is my wife and a wonderful mother to our children, so I have the most knowledge and best perspective on what kind of judge Marcia LeMay would be and she is truly the only choice to vote for in the election for Ogdensburg City Court Judge.

Jeff Green


Opinion: Laborers’ Local 1822 announces its endorsements

Rich Daddario, business manager of Laborers’ Local 1822, announced the membership has endorsed the following candidates for its 7-County North Country Area: State and federal endorsements include Andrew Cuomo, governor; Kathy Hochul, Lt. governor; Tom DiNapoli, NYS comptroller; Letitia James, attorney general; Elise Stefanik, 21st District Congresswoman; Joe Griffo, 47th NYS Senate District; Patty Ritchie, 48th NYS Senate District; Billy Jones, 115th NYS Assembly District; Addie Jenne, 116th NYS Assembly District; and Keith Rubino, 118th NYS Assembly District.

St. Lawrence County endorsements are Scott DelConte, 5th Judicial District supreme court judge; Ted Limpert, 5th Judicial District Supreme court judge; Jamie Sienkiewycz, St. Lawrence County coroner; Joe White, St. Lawrence County coroner; Melanie Cunningham, town council; Jim Reagen, District 1 Legislature; Sam LaMacchia, District 2 Legislature; Michael Hammond, District 3 Legislature; Barbara Finnie, District 4 Legislature; Henry Leader, District 5 Legislature; Larry Denesha District 6 Legislature; Rick Perkins, District 7 Legislature; Kaitlin Tyndall, District 8 Legislature; Daniel Fay, District 9 Legislature; David Haggard, District 10 Legislature; Nance Arquiett, District 11 Legislature; John Burke, District 12 Legislature; Anthony Arquiett, District 13 Legislature; Nicole Terminelli, District 14 Legislature and Shawna Cecot, District 15 Legislature.

We encourage everyone to take a few moments out of their day and vote on November 6th.

Rich Daddario

Laborers’ Local 1822 business manager

Opinion: Millionaire tax cuts don’t create jobs, says Morristown resident

To borrow a story from former Clinton Administration Labor Secretary Robert Reich’s documentary film “Inequality for All,” imagine a guy who makes $10 million a year. Now imagine 200 people making $50K each. Sure, that rich guy will spend more money on average, go on more luxurious vacations, and dine out at fancier restaurants than the typical $50K salaried worker.

But he’s only one guy. He can only travel so much and he’s only going to buy so many groceries. The economy is stimulated far more from the combined vacations and grocery store trips and movie theaters visited by those 200 middle class people making a combined $10 million.

If you owned a store or restaurant, would you want a customer base of one rich guy, or 200 regular folk? Do you want one rich guy buying three top shelf drinks, or dozens regular folk drinking Bud Light?

While I may be a Democratic Socialist (like Bernie and AOC), I understand that there will inevitably be some rich people. And that’s okay. LeBron James and Mike Trout, for example, are super duper awesome at what they do and are principally responsible for the millions of dollars generated in their respective fields, far more so than the Ayn Rand fanboy billionaire owner in the luxury box who was born on third base thinking he hit a triple.

LeBron and Trout have earned their wealth, unlike a certain billionaire who received a small million dollar loan from daddy and proceeded to a private sector career stiffing contractors and bankrupting casinos followed by a political career demonizing immigrants, refugees, and Muslims and spreading racist lies about the first black president.

But, in general, while there will always be some wealth disparity and a certain subset of millionaires (some of whom may even have earned it!), it’s better for the wealth to be spread around more broadly, both morally and economically.

Millionaire tax cuts don’t create jobs, broad middle class customer bases do. If you give a poor or middle class man more money, he’s going to spend it.

Economy stimulated! Give a rich guy a tax cut, and he’s sticking it in the bank, or maybe putting it in the market and then pressuring already profitable companies to cut back on worker salaries and benefits so that his stock dividends can rise.

Sean Pidgeon


Opinion: Take politics out of daily lives, says Heuvelton resident

Chuck Kelly deserves a lot of credit and kudos for an interesting and long period of service to our area. But, I think that politicians expressing "sorrow at death of ... " is a bad move, coming from the most despicable to the betters of political lives!

Politicians making these sounds are simply using his death for a bit of free exposure in the new media and nothing more. It is sick and phony that they should get together to be the major wishers of deigned sympathy and empathy for the death of an icon of our area for so many years.

I can hardly believe they would be so cheap and I feeling as to use Chuck's death as an opportunity to get their names in print and remind the community that they all exist, and for free, without having to pay for it.

Right now for a politician, regardless of party, to take advantage of such crassness is beyond believable. Let the people who knew him, and his accomplishments, both of which are/were huge, say these things about him; not politicians.

At this point I consider politicians jobs lower than that of the worst used car salesman there ever was. And for any Republicans in that list, they should be considered lower than that of a seller of dog-feces in my opinion!

Let's get politics out of our daily lives when they aren't being about politics, okay? I despise their attempt to get free press this way!

Tom Rivet


Opinion: Fact check candidates before voting Nov. 6, says Colton man

Public information being espoused by the Republican candidate Kevin Beary against his opponent, District Seven Legislator Rick Perkins on the second amendment is completely false.

Perkins has been an avid hunter and sportsman for years. He is a pro second amendment legislator. You can ask any of his friends, family or his acquaintances.

Please take the time to check into each candidate’s background, statements and ads to make sure they are accurate before you vote.

This is only fair to each candidate before you place your vote on Nov. 6.

George Cayey


Vote ethical people into office this year, says Potsdam woman

There is much that can be written about Tedra Cobb’s impressive qualifications for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

However, I believe there is one essential reason to vote for her.

If you, a family member, or a friend has a pre-existing medical condition, Tedra Cobb will be a powerful voice in Washington D.C. to protect you from the potential financial disaster of being unable to buy affordable health insurance.

This is not a partisan issue. We all must unite and vote into office ethical people who will serve the interests of the many.

Ann M. Carvill

Potsdam town supervisor 

Opinion: Elect real North Country representative this year, Potsdam man says

Our system of governance is predicated on the idea that communities, or groups of communities in a common region, choose a person from amongst themselves to represent their interests in Washington. Unfortunately, over the last four years in NY congressional district 21, that concept has been flipped up side down - Washington has sent it's representative, Elise Stefanik, to us.

This year's campaign has emphasized how entrenched she is in the worst aspects of Washington culture. She has run ridiculous, misleading, ugly ads. She has indoctrinated a minor into the slimiest depths of campaign malfeasance, followed by an implausible and hypocritical denial (of course all that was revealed about her opponent in that debacle, is that she (Tedra Cobb) is sensitive and responsive to the views of her future constituents, though Elise tried to spin it as something else). Elise's television ads were so bad, she seemed to be saying to NY-21 voters "I think you're stupid". It seems nobody told her that's not the way we treat each other in the North Country.

Fortunately, this year we have the opportunity to elect a real North Country representative from amongst ourselves. A quick comparison of campaign financing figures illustrates the point clearly. Tedra Cobb's campaign has been financed overwhelmingly by us, NY-21 voters, while Elise's campaign was financed mostly by interests outside of our district. This is not some meaningless rhetorical point - it is a substantive issue with major implications which beg the question - who does Elise Stefanik represent? Tedra stands out in this race as a true North Country representative who conducts herself with maturity and integrity - someone who has devoted her life to serving our community, and shares our values.

I'm sure no one really cares who I endorse, but I give my full hearted endorsement to Tedra Cobb anyway. Please don't sit on the sidelines this year. The possibility of having Tedra represent us in Washington is worth the effort of getting to the polls.

Larry McGory


Opinion: Think before voting, but be sure to vote, says Ogdensburg resident

Gov. Cuomo is running for reelection and now is a good time to get the liberal left socialist out of Albany. Think about what he has done to New York citizens.

He got the SAFE Act passed at night when there was no resistance, and it takes your constitutional rights away. He used taxpayer money to support sanctuary cities in Albany and NYC in order to suck up to illegal aliens for the Democratic votes. He has put “I Love NY” signs up on the thruway and the northway, which are federal roads where state signs are illegal. The federal government is about to stop $14 million of federal aid and for this, taxpayers pay again.

All Cuomo’s buddies have been convicted of fraud, illegal kickbacks and bribes. Sheldon Silver has been convicted twice and is probably not in jail yet. In my opinion, Cuomo is just as guilty as all the rest of them and should also be convicted. He has spent even more taxpayer money grinding strips in the center of New York State highways and I have never heard of them saving anybody’s life yet. Where I live, all we get from them is noise.

Addie Jenne is another one that should be voted out as she goes along with Cuomo on everything, including the SAFE Act. Tedra Cobb is also a gun control person we do not need in Albany.

Think before you vote, but vote.

William Bartlett