Looking to 2016 what Steuben County taught us on this Election Day

The following article was written by our good friend, Anonymously. I can tell you that Mr. or Ms Anonymously is a resident of the NY 23rd and is not an elected figure and has never been a candidate. If others are interested in writing article for the New NY23rd, and published anonymously, just contact us. We need o hear your voice in the discussion of the issues of district.

Election day 2015 showed us several interesting trends with the Democratic Party in tballot-box-2he Southern Tier. For the first time in 100 years Democrats in Cayuga County took the County Legislature. A democratic incumbent was defeated handedly for Reelection in Elmira Mayor. Meanwhile a former democratic congressional candidate in Ithaca was defeated in his reelection campaign for County legislature. In horseheads a labor friendly incumbent Republican mayor was defeated by a twin tiers party leader and his band of merry zealots. But what was most interesting was how elections turned out in Steuben County as a whole.

On the ballot were countless Town Supervisor, Town Justice, and other local positions plus two seats on the county legislature. Incumbent Democrat George Welch Jr. resigned his seat representing Corning in the County legislature for a judgeship. Similarly in Hornell a seat opened up. Well guess what happened. Democrats contested and Democrats won both seats. In addition Democrats won Town Supervisor and Town justice positions in the towns of Hornby, Addison, Caton, and even in Jasper Democrats still hold local offices. Democrats captured one county legislature seat, and successfully defended the other from the challenge of Congressman Tom Reed’s chief of Staff Joe Sempolinski.

This outright denies a successor to Tom Reed, as Demographics change, and Tom feels the need to retire, or run for higher office. Some have touted him as a Lieutenant Governor candidate for 2018.

While these victories seem small, they matter for three reasons. First because small election victories like these help strengthen the Democratic Brand for Presidential year elections. Believe it or not, our friends and neighbors who are Republican will cross partylines to vote for friends and those they deem honest. Honesty comes in many forms but in politics in comes in giving a sincere pitch and honest depiction of what is happening in the town. This pitch is then amplified by the candidate telling voters what they’ll do to better the locality. Democrats made a better pitch and thanks to this we won. The second reason these victories matter is the sole fact that this just adds more to the Democratic bench for higher offices. For the last three presidential election cycles, Democrats in Steuben County have been able to trend bluer. This holds true across the 23rd Congressional district, with President Obama outright winning, Tompkins, Seneca and losing Yates, Chemung, and Schuyler by a margin of 3% or less.  These trends seem to keep continuing despite what has happened in the past.

With a Republican delegation from Congress all the way to State Assembly in some parts of our district, these victories in local office show that changing trend of the Southern Tier trending blue. Even now these local victories show cracks in the Republican machine in the Southern tier. The truth is we are represented by Gaffe prone political gadflys who rely on low level voter turnout to secure victory. Only in the Southern Tier can a state senator curse out one of his constituents. Only in the Southern Tier can a County Executive tell the New York Times that refurbishing the County Government Office is “economic development”.  The truth is none of our Republican “reform” minded state senators ever called for the resignation of Dean Skelos from the leadership of the State Senate. Hell one of our Assemblymen even tried to cut a deal for his vote to a Democrat in the state assembly Speaker’s race and the Democrat passed on the offer.

The truth is we sit among some of the most powerless elected officials in the state. There is no political will to move forward to bring economic development to the Southern Tier. After all these are our elected officials, why is that they blame someone else when factories shut down or economic development does not reach the Southern Tier. These elected officials aren’t elected to make $80,000 and go to Albany for Photo Ops. They are payed to legislate and advocate for our region. Sometimes economic development isn’t ideological and that may be why they fail to bring back any of our young people or bring jobs to our area.

While the latest factory closure in Campbell has State Senator O’mara, Assemblyman Palmesano, and Congressman Reed juggling issues to find an excuse as to why they didn’t do anything, it just goes to show how unqualified and lacking political will a lot of these guys are. The fact that Senator Schumer intervened before Congressman Reed shows where Reed’s priorities are. Truth be told this factory closure is what years of Republican Representation in Albany and D.C looks like.

Democracy is often mistaken to be a big ordeal that happens once or twice every two years. But the truth is Democracy happens every single day, and in our rural communities Democracy happens with our neighbors, because ultimately the people who vote aren’t some sort of number coming out of a board of elections website. They are our neighbors and friends, which is why we need more people running for local office. We need to run tickets up and down the ballot, and show our communities we exist. The truth is we are the silent majority, and the Southern Tier is dying, we don’t need elected officials at any level who just want participation medals in government. No community deserves that, and in Steuben County Democrats made that argument and they won. This is the argument we need to make in 2016.

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About pystew

Retired Teacher, political science geek, village trustee. I lean a little left, but like a good political discussion. My blog, the New NY 23rd (http://newny23rd) is about discussing the issues facing the people of our new congressional district. Let's hear all sides of the issues, not just what the candidates want us to hear.
This entry was posted in 2016, Congress, Economics, Environmental, NYS Government and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Looking to 2016 what Steuben County taught us on this Election Day

  1. Deb Meeker says:

    Anonymously, you just got my vote.

  2. Anne says:

    Low voter turnout is critical…we have GOT to get more D’s to the polls next time around.

  3. whungerford says:

    In the City of Elmira, I believe the most important influence on the election was concern over crime. In the Village of Horseheads, the key issue was whether or not to continue employing a part-time under sheriff as police chief, or to hire a particular individual for the job. In the Town of Elmira we have a two party system, but the Democratic Party isn’t one of them.

    I wonder if Joe Sempolinski’s defeat (I don’t believe the results are official yet) was due to his connection with Tom Reed?

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