Monroe Election 2016: Our suggestions.

Monroe elections

Our picks for the 2016 Monroe Election.

Tuesday is right around the corner, so for those voting locally, these are our candidate selections for the Monroe Election along with your sample ballot.

Congress & Senate.

Monroe Election Recommendation: Phil Oliva for Congress.

Monroe electionFirst, let’s review the Congressional picks. Orange County is represented by Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney and Republican challenger Phil Oliva. And when you factor that Orange County is the bulk of this Congressional District, we are highly concerned that Maloney hasn’t been present or accountable on a local level. Nor has he had much to say about how federal funds are used for the remainder of Orange County. Other missteps that suggest he is out of touch with Monroe voters by his silence on suburban expansion, land use, traffic, pollution, and education. Let’s also not forget his misuse of security and drones to cover his wedding. Those leave us wondering if there is another set of laws for him versus everyone else.

His seat is vulnerable because his voting record is too far left for the character of the Hudson Valley and moderate Orange County. We suspect that four years is enough, just as it was for John Hall (2006-2010). And both fed from the bloc vote well repeatedly while remaining silent on how they are beholden to KJ’s influence.

If Maloney was more moderate or more receptive to Monroe concerns, there would be no reason to consider a change. That hasn’t been the case. We are more impressed with Oliva’s positions and his endorsements, and we prefer him as our representative in Tuesday’s Monroe election. Perhaps this is more a testament to not regarding your constituent concerns seriously.

Monroe Election Recommendation: Arbitrary. We like Wendy Long, but are also happy with Chuck Schumer.

Monroe electionThe Senate pick might be an arbitrary one, but given the moderate views of Orange County, we believe that a lean of the Senate further to the left would put Chuck Schumer in line for the Majority Leader position. While that isn’t necessarily an issue based on his voting record — Schumer has been an advocate for the concerns of all New Yorkers during his three terms — the composition of the Senate remains a concern.

We are primarily concerned that Schumer is more aligned, however, with the very Democratic and more liberal geography of the five boroughs than upstate. However, a vote against Schumer means that New York will have two relatively junior Senators and a lack of bargaining power.

Monroe electionThis is a toss-up and we cannot give a clear recommendation. Personally, we like the potential of Wendy Long in the Senate, but also understand that New York is not a state that often goes Republican for either of its two seats. Further, New York would ultimately benefit from a continued Schumer role.

On the other hand, the Senate role shouldn’t be a lifetime career, and this will be his fourth term. And if anyone is behind the Democratic machine in DC, it’s Chuck Schumer. If voters really demand change as sentiment has shown, they should consider a new face in that seat during the upcoming Monroe election.

Monroe Election Recommendation: Donald Trump for President.

Let’s clarify the “why” of a Donald Trump selection, controversial as that may sound.

New Yorkers have nearly forgotten the carpet-bagging mediocrity of Hillary Clinton’s Senate career. Her tumultuous time as Secretary of State is fresher in memory, and it was feckless foreign policy. Her email scandals, various changing positions, and beholden nature to political insiders all but screams that she’s not running to represent 319 million US residents. She’s running to champion the causes of those who are contributors to her foundation. It’s pay-to-play politics raised to an artform.

Those scandals are a major distraction from her ability to effectively govern. There are too many skeletons in the Clinton closet that will continue to emerge that will impact her ability to govern.

In short, if you liked the last eight years of the Obama administration, you’re in for at least four more of an incredibly mediocre substitute. But that still isn’t why we selected the “other guy”.

For that answer? US Attorney Preet Bharara.

Clinton has been lukewarm on his actions, and won’t commit to his continuation in his role. Bharara has been a breath of fresh air in fighting New York corruption. The sort of corruption that has become more associated with Hillary Clinton of late. And New Yorkers should care about that, since Bharara has brought down Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver. He continues to have Cuomo in his sights. We need Albany cleaned up. It won’t be if he doesn’t continue his efforts, or if Clinton pulls him from his anti-corruption efforts.

That affects all of us in Monroe as we continue to see questionable dealings on a county and state level. In a Monroe election, that point matters. Without her emphatic support, we question if we’ll see more deals such as the Marc Rich clemency of 2001.

For his bluster, New Yorkers actually know Donald Trump as more an advocate for common-people behind-the-scenes and on a low-key scale. Anecdotes abound of how Trump has helped out those in need, the down-and-out, and common people. Trump has represented a polarizing voice in this election, but one that speaks for an undercurrent of citizenry tired of the status quo. While we are less-than-impressed at his lack of a verbal filter and some of his statements, it comes down to a comparison of “words versus actions”.

Trump’s comments are words. Clinton’s are actions, and she has misrepresented those repeatedly. If Trump is bad, Clinton is far worse. We’re recommending Trump as a #NeverHillary vote in the hopes that his actions don’t rise to the level of corruption associated already with Hillary Clinton.

Monroe Election Recommendation: Karl Brabenec for State Assembly.

Monroe electionIf the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is tough, that between Aron Wieder and Karl Brabenec is a close rival.

Brabenec began his campaign on the wrong foot and certainly did not engender himself to Monroe election voters in the Republican Primary against John Allegro. First, usurping the United Monroe line served to alienate voters for no apparent reason. The move earned a high level of mistrust that could have translated to support for an opponent…or a write0in campaign. And while Brabenec stays on message, he has become well-known for squelching any criticisms on his social media presences. Neither were viewed as positive moves.

All of this might suggest that we wouldn’t recommend Karl Brabenec as a candidate. And normally we wouldn’t. But this is not a normal election.

Monroe electionThe Aron Wieder factor.

Democrat Aron Wieder rode to a primary victory largely without a campaign and based on the bloc vote from Kiryas Joel and Ramapo/Monsey. It has been only of late that we have seen any campaign presence from Wieder. This is telling since he has spent very little time or effort to appeal to voters outside those communities. Voters could infer that this says a lot about his positions, but we also have his prior record to guide us.

Wieder was the architect of the East Ramapo School District gutting as President of the ERCSD School Board. That included the selection of a law firm that was very abusive to the public. Wieder has also been known for very extreme stances as a Rockland County Legislator. And he’s quick to use the “anti-Semitic” response to criticisms.

Wider’s background as a Hasidic is not what concerns us. His record on school funding and voting, plus his lack of definite positions or visions for the District are a major concern. The 98th District is left with two choices: A future career politician who values winning at any cost, and someone who hasn’t shown concern for constituents outside the Hasidic community. And that is still the majority of the 98th District.

Brabenec gets the nod by default for a Monroe election. Not because he is so bad, but because he isn’t the worse alternative.

Monroe Election Recommendation: Chris Eachus for State Senate.

Monroe electionSenator Bill Larkin has served his district and his constituents well for the past 38 years. You read that correctly. He has served in office since the Jimmy Carter administration, making him a career politician. Also a politician who doesn’t care to attend debates or issue positions. His explanations for not doing so don’t withstand scrutiny. However, they do speak to his lack of concern for public appearances other than ribbon cuttings.

Supporters will contend that he’s “brought home the bacon” for his constituents. He’s also brought it for himself by the loophole that he will never vote to close. He continues to collect both his Senate salary and his state pension. He has also done little to address Albany corruption, siding largely with Dean Skelos, including after his indictment. Larkin is not a reformer. And he’s also in questionable health at 88 years old.

So despite his record of bringing money to his district, as well as his support for the Skoufis bill to provide County Oversight to annexations over 99 acres, it’s also a position held by Eachus.


Why Eachus?

Monroe electionThe only difference with Eachus? Larkin’s incomplete assessment of his record on the funding of the County’s suit to overturn the Kiryas Joel annexation. Eachus initially supported a measure to join other municipalities in a legal challenge versus the county funding its own separate effort. Eachus supported both measures. And while we don’t agree with all of Eachus’ positions, we believe that he is willing to offer up proposals. That is needed in an Albany culture of stagnation and corruption.

Simply put, in a Monroe election, it’s time for new blood, and to send a message to Larkin that self-serving political decisions don’t sit well with voters.

We wish everyone the best in their campaigns. Be sure to vote on November 8th! Courtesy of the Orange County Board of Elections, feel free to download the sample ballot for the Monroe-election.

Managing Editor