Candidates Doug Hoffman, Andy Russo and Shawn Skeele converged on the American Legion building in Cazenovia Aug. 26 to espouse the values of conservative spending and term limits while railing against the "career politicians" they are running against.
"You got a business man or an accountant who's running for office, and that believes in term limits, this is a candidate you need to seriously consider. Because they'll put the financial house in order. It's gonna be painful, and everyone's gotta know that," said Skeele, a business owner from DeRuyter running for NYS 111th Assembly seat. "People don't like to say that because it loses votes, but I hope I won't here."
The three conservative candidates spoke at a town-hall-style meeting organized by the Central New York 9-12 Association, a local chapter of the "9-12 Project." Hoffman is challenging Bill Owens for the United States New York's 23rd district in the House of Representatives. Russo will face David Valesky for the New York State Senate 49th district seat. Skeele is running for incumbent William Magee's NYS 111th assembly district seat.
The 9-12 Project aims to recapture the unity felt the day after the terrorist attacks of 2001, to "bring us all back to the place we were on Sept. 12, 2001" according to its website.
The group does not endorse individual candidates, but organized the event, which featured brief introductions by the candidates followed by a longer question-and-answer session.
One audience member wanted the candidates to discuss what could happen if the conservative candidates at the event didn't succeed.
"Consider home ownership in another state, seriously. I swear, this is why it's so important," Russo said. "If we do not win in November, we're done in the state of New York. What they've done to us in the last two years is gonna continue. We're broke! We started our fiscal year, April 1, with no money."