Oct 12, 2011 Walt Shepperd Uncategorized
Gwyn Mannion, Democrat candidate for the 10th County Legislative District, is running for office for the first time. “‘Why’ is a very good question,” she admits, “considering I was not the politician in the family. But I have been asked a couple of times by different people over the past two years that I should run, that I would be a good candidate. But I always blew it off because it was not in my career plan. But I was watching the Legislature for the past year, watching the fighting going on between the County Legislators and the County Executive, and I found it to be so childish. I couldn’t understand what was going on, and I thought I just might be a good candidate because what I do at work is solve problems, get to the root cause. I thought if somebody who sees both sides was in office, we could get more accomplished.”
The district, with about 20,000 voters in Manlius, Fayetteville, Minoa and part of Freemont, is 38 percent Republican, 32 percent Democrat, one of the majority suburban seats that has dominated legislative decisions throughout the body’s history. During a recent campaign a radical proposal called for redistricting the county in the approximation of a pie, with each district beginning at a point in the middle of the city, growing into a triangle shape which would include urban, suburban, town and village issues on each legislator’s agenda.
“You tend to know the people where you live,” Mannion reflects on the concept, “and they know you. That’s a good thing. I do like the piece about bringing you into the city so you understand the issues across the board. That would be very powerful.” Even without sidewalks, Mannion is waging the traditional door-to-door campaign. “Just like everybody else, taxes is always number one,” she says of the responses. “They keep going up, services keep going down, that aggravates everybody. Hydrofracking is coming up because it’s going to affect people if counties next to them allow it.”
“I’m the newbie on the block,” Mannion says of her door knocking, “and what’s really funny is I have not had one person say to my face they wouldn’t vote for me. Maybe they’re just being polite.” Only two have invited her in for a chat, however, and she has learned an ironic political lesson. “Most people don’t want you to knock on their door,” she maintains, “and it will be a low turnout. It’s terrible. I’m the only one on the ballot in the Town of Manlius that’s opposing anyone.” She is running against three term incumbent Republican Kevin Holmquist. “I think I can beat him,” she says, “because all of my Republican friends who normally vote are voting for me, not him. I’m going to hit it hard and try to sway all those undecided voters.”
Three-time New York Press Association Writer of the Year, Walt Shepperd is a weekly columnist with The Eagle.