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Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Voters deserve more competitive contests
(Page 2 of 3)
County Democrats railed against the new legislative maps that were passed along party lines in the Republican-majority Legislature. The Democrats groused that the maps were unjust, gerrymandered and designed to protect that majority. Yet they’ve apparently done very little about the perceived injustice since then, as evidenced by the lack of Democratic challengers in four districts.

It’s time the county’s political parties started doing more to find viable candidates. Maybe the political bosses need to start looking for them earlier, in the places where there are plenty of people with extensive public service who are capable of stepping up to higher offices: fire departments, civilian patrols, auxiliary police, school boards, PTAs, service organizations, American Legion and VFW posts, library boards, chambers of commerce and other business associations, zoning boards, village boards, historical societies. These groups are crowded with obviously civic-minded, community-oriented, issue-savvy folks, at least some of whom must want to take on wider leadership roles.

One good example is the 5th Legislative District, where both the Republicans and Democrats found solid candidates to run for the seat vacated by Joseph Scannell. Democrat Laura Curran is a member of the Baldwin Board of Education, and Republican Debbie Pugliese is active with the Baldwin Chamber of Commerce. Both have long histories of serving their community, and serving it well.

As long as our parties rather myopically limit their searches for candidates to their own political clubhouses — as long as Republicans and Democrats persist in favoring only their loyalists and dependents with party support — our communities will continue to be robbed of the chance to vote for a wide spectrum of true public servants, and will instead continue mostly electing servants of the parties.

And if that remains the norm, calls for a third party, or for term limits, will grow louder.


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This past local election should see the beginning of the end of "machine" politics and its antiquated role in winning elections. As technology and social networks inspire state and local government to become more transparent, and collaborative, voters and citizens alike will seek a more participatory and more influential role in winning elections and governing.

Saturday, November 9, 2013 | Report this

Regarding third parties, NYS election law states that in order for a statewide party to get on the ballot, they must get 40,000 votes (a rather arbitrary number?) for their gubernatorial candidate. 2014 is the next gubernatorial election. Once they achieve the 40,000 votes, the political party will appear on the statewide ballot for the proceeding four years. Yet, the NYS election law only applies to the creation of the state committee. What usually happens at the local level are party proxy wars among political power brokers which are aimed at establishing the county committees.

Term limits in the NC Legislature might seem to make sense. Some incumbents from both sides of the aisle have served for more than ten years - even since the inception of the body. But, as a result of the recent NC gerrymandering by the GOP, which is designed to entrench local GOP incumbents, there is also the likely outcome of a super-majority in the legislature for the NC GOP. Fortunately, this was not the case in this year's contests. For NC Dems, it is the one vital silver lining in the electoral cloud.

Sunday, November 10, 2013 | Report this
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