Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A New Voice in State Politics

I attended the Lincoln Day Dinner at the Main Place in Hornell Friday evening. Ordinarily I don’t show up at such goings-on but found spending an evening with people of my own ilk was a pleasure. The Lincoln Day Dinner is an annual event sponsored by the Hornell Republican Committee. The reason the dinner is named for Abraham Lincoln is that he was the first real Republican.

The food was good, the drinks were good, the company was good, and if you don’t mind a half dozen or so politicians’ speeches during which they spend several minutes patting each other on the back for the swell job they are doing for us, then you might say the speeches were good. Actually, we do have a swell bunch of local politicians that do a fine job for us, no fooling. In case you don’t know who they are, here are their names: U.S. Congressman Tom Reed, State Senator Tom O’Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and Assemblyman Bill Nojay. No. there are no Democrats in the ranks of Republican pols. Although they are welcome at any time.

The keynote speaker was of special interest.  Chris Gibson, a U.S. congressman from Columbia County delivered an inspired address to the audience of 112 guests, during which he enumerated many of the problems with the Cuomo Administration. (In that regard he could have spoken for hours but held his remarks to about fifteen to twenty minutes, a span of time  no speech should exceed.)  Gibson informed his audience of his plans to run for governor.  Can you even imagine a truly conservative Republican holding sway in Albany? Personally, I cannot ever remember such being the case. Pataki? You gotta be kidding!

Gibson described four issues he said needed immediate address.  The economy, of course, saying the ads the current administration is running on television about how well NYS is doing businesswise, simply are not true. But, then, anybody paying attention to the job market already knew that. The second issue is education, particularly the eradication of Common Core. I must admit ignorance as to the particulars of Common Core, but if it’s no better (or is worse than) the other math procedures concocted by asinine liberal “educators,” (remember “new” math?) then it’s simple “math” to say it’s no good. What was wrong with the old “rote” method, in which students simply did something until they got it right then moved on? Slower students went at their own pace, the gifted went according to theirs. Of course, it may help to arrange a method of ridding the school districts of bad teachers. The tenure system has to go for the betterment of education.

Chris Gibson’s third issue he would work to see changed if elected to the governor’s office is the corruption in Albany. I guess we all know how bad that is. NYS and Illinois (Chicago) are reputed to be the most crooked state governments in the US. Probably so, but I would not think others were better to any degree. And, as much as we’d all like to see Albany swathed with a brush of honest dealings, I’d bet there are few who would offer hold their breath.

The final issue Gibson spoke of was repeal of the SAFE Act. It should not have been brought into law in the first place – passed in the middle of the night after refusing lawmakers the opportunity to review it. Liberals do not care that disarming law abiding citizens, even making guns and ammunition more difficult to come by, puts those citizens in more danger. Areas of the country that legalized armed carry have less crime (talk about simple math). Crooks don’t want to be shot.

Chris Gibson is quite an accomplished individual. A 29-year veteran of the US Army, he retired as a full colonel. He spent four tours in Iraq, where he earned four bronze stars and a purple heart. Gibson led combat troops for the fabled 82nd Airborne and the Tenth Mountain Division.

Gibson did not make an official announcement about his political future but did say that “very soon” he would announce his intentions to form an exploratory committee in preparation for a 2018 run to unseat Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

To bring meaningful change to NYS we must work to put conservative Republicans in positions of prominence, as we have done in our area of the state. To date, Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1, the results of which are evident throughout the state – corruption, no jobs, failing schools, on and on.

“This must be our work,” said Gibson, “registering new voters.”

Gibson urged the party to focus on a positive message that will unite people around common problems and will celebrate diverse viewpoints. “Ours is a positive-issues centered message that ought to have mass appeal.”

Bringing Republicans together will be a great first step.

One last note on the Lincoln Day Dinner. Every year a Republican of the Year is selected and awarded a trophy. This year the honor went to Kevin Doran – posthumously! Mr. Doran’s contribution to the conservative cause was long running and on the money. He owned the WLEA radio station and often used his mic to espouse those conservative precepts we hold so dear. Most enjoyable were his Friday morning Newsmaker shows with Alfred University political science professor Dr. Robert Heinemann, in which they discussed, pro and con, many issues of the day. Mr. Doran also gave a radio voice to committee chairman John Buckley and assemblyman Nojay, who called the radio man “a lifelong defender of the truth .”

Mr. Doran was a good friend and he will be missed. He passed away last fall. I was wondering if he might have enjoyed receiving the honor of Republican of the Year, an award commemorating his longstanding work on behalf of conservatism, while he was alive.

 I think he would have.

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