Political campaigns for mid-term elections have moved into high gear around the country and locally. On Sept. 24, headquarters for Democrat Ed Putnam, candidate for New York State Assembly, 124th District, officially opened in Elbridge. Close to four dozen supporters and volunteers gave the light and airy office, at 239 East Main St., an electric atmosphere. Posters sporting Ed Putnam's photo, adorn the newly painted walls. Large charts attached to one wall, were being filled in by volunteers to man the phone banks and canvass with Putnam in Oswego and elsewhere. Stickers and buttons in patriotic colors, nestled in red confetti, were whisked up faster than the food and drinks being offered.
A number of young men and women added an aura of excitement and anticipation. It was clear to even the casual observer that interest in this election is running high and has captured a new generation of voters. One smiling fresh face was Anna Leiss, a senior at Skaneateles High School, who has volunteered ten hours for a project in her Participation in Government class. She said, "It's so exciting to be a part of this and see how politics really works." When asked if this might encourage her to take political science in university she laughed and answered, "Maybe. I've grown up in a house where politics were discussed all the tim, but right now I'm thinking of studying environmental science."
Putnam, a retired Episcopal priest, shook hands with constitutents and volunteers and listened to concerns of local residents. Issues ranged from social security to job security and raising the minimum wage.
Speeches were brief and direct. Fellow candidate Al Stirpe, running for the 121st District seat, gave a strong endorsement and stated, "Ed would be a real asset to the Assembly. I hope I will have the opportunity to work with him." He said he has formed a strong relationship with Putnam, who he has found to be honest and capable. Putnam promised voters three things. One, for him, the position of assemblyman will be a full-time, not a part-time job. He will fully devote himself to representing the people. Two, he pledged to visit every village, town and city in his district three times a year. He says this is an honest commitment of time, as it encompasses two cities, twelve towns and many more villages. His third promise is, "I will refuse any pay raise and if it is passed, I will give the increase to a charity in my district. People in the district are struggling to make ends meet. They need someone to speak for them and I would like to be that person." He thanked people for their encouragement and support and ended his remarks to an explosion of applause. "There is a change coming to Albany. I agree with my friend Elliot Spitzer that a new day is beginning Jan. 1. I want to be a part of the group that brings that change and with the help of all of you, I will be there."