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Public invited to meet GOP candidates Feb. 16 at Liverpool Legion

— The town of Salina’s Republican Committee will open its doors to the public when it conducts a pre-caucus meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, at American Legion Post 188 on South Cypress Street, in Liverpool.

The evening’s guest speaker will be the newly elected chairman of the Onondaga County Legislature, Ryan McMahon.

Salina GOP Committee Chairman Bill Tassone hopes to dispel the aura of secrecy that has historically plagued politics. “We don’t meet in smoke-filled rooms,” he said. “I want all voters to have a chance to see how we take our initial steps to selecting candidates for public office.”

This is the first time the town Republicans will host a public meeting, Tassone said.

Bill Tassone county vice chair

A longtime Republican Party operative in town, city and statewide races, Tassone was recently named one of five vice chairmen of the Onondaga County GOP. County Chairman Tom Dadey confirmed that he recently appointed Tassone to helm the party’s candidate-recruitment efforts.

“Bill and I have worked closely together ever since the last campaign cycle, especially in Salina,” Dadey said last week. “And we significantly increased our majority in the County Legislature.” The county chairman praised Tassone’s “wisdom, insight and background.”

Tassone is the husband of 4th District County Legislator Judy Tassone.

Feb. 16’s speaker Ryan McMahon, 31, was elected legislature chairman on Jan. 3. A three-term Syracuse Common Councilor, McMahon won his seat on the legislature last November when he beat Democrat Bill English in the 15th District on the south side of the city.

Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle (R-25th District) has been invited to the Feb. 16 meeting, but Tassone was unsure whether she’d be able to attend.

Carey seeks county judgeship

Candidates for two county-wide offices – county clerk and county judge – will likely attend the Feb. 16 meeting. Current Salina Town Judge Paul Carey is expected to run for the county’s judicial seat recently vacated by outgoing Judge Bill Walsh.

Tassone estimated that candidates for each of those two county offices will have to raise $100,000 each in to run effective campaigns. “Voters get upset about all the money candidates spend to run for office,” Tassone said, “They wonder, ‘Who’s buying who?’ But the fact is that you have to raise money, or you’ll lose…I’m as frustrated by national politics as anyone. This public meeting is to show how our process works.”

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