Friday night forum - an excerpt from an article in the Catskill Daily Mail
Barber also took part in an Oct. 24 “Meet the Candidates Night” at the Saugerties senior center in neighboring Ulster County. Of the 22 candidates running for New York State Legislature in Greene, Ulster and Dutchess counties who were invited to the event, 10 RSVP’d and seven turned out to discuss their positions on campaign finance reform, healthcare, the economy, the environment and education.
The Kingston chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) sponsored and hosted the event, and they identified the five topics as vital issues of concern.
“I really think events like this are extremely important because first of all, it is very expensive for the candidates to run their campaigns, and the ads that they put out on the radio and so on — they just don’t do it. We need a lot more of these so that people get to know who is running and what they’re running for,” said Palenville resident Irene Miller, who coordinated the event. “We need to know what a candidate’s record is, and what their background is so that we can make good, informed decisions.”
Miller is a member of the AAUW and the New York Citizens for Clean Elections.
Other Greene County candidates who attended the forum include Assemblyman Pete Lopez, an incumbent in the 127th district who is running unopposed, and Assemblyman Tim Gordon, who is seeking re-election against Steve McLaughlin in the 108th district.
“It’s one thing to vote, and everybody should vote, but if you just go in and pull a lever, it doesn’t mean anything,” said Miller. “It’s important to know what you’re voting for, because it’s the only way we can have a democracy, and it’s the only way we can control what’s going on in our lives.”
The AAUW provides a powerful voice for women and girls through advocacy, education and research. It was founded in 1881 and today the organization boasts 100,000 members nationwide with 1,300 branches and 500 college and university partners.
“The candidates who came were very good. They all gave their positions openly and thoughtfully, and I think it was really a wonderful exchange for the audience,” said Miller, “The issues covered at the event are very important, and the voters got to hear each candidate’s position first-hand.”