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LETTERS: It’s like déjà vu all over again

— I see Russ Johnson’s campaign slogan, “Restore Pride,” on signs all over town. This political punch-line may sound like a good slogan, but it just doesn’t ring true in real life. I don’t believe that the Lysander Republican Committee hopes to restore pride to Lysander. Instead, I think it plans to put professional politicians like Russ in office, so that it can once again exert power, influence and control over the business of the town.

Read Russ Johnson’s own words from his letter to the local paper on Sept. 8, 2011, after residing for only one and a half years in Lysander, entitled “Support Bullis in Lysander Primary.” Russ wrote in part that, “If Barry is chosen by his fellow Republicans on Sept. 13, and then in the November general election of this great town, he will continue to lead Lysander with a steady hand and we will all better off for it. Mr. Bullis, you have my vote.” But as we remember, the wind soon began to blow the other way. And so did Russ.

Just two months later, after a mandate of the people swept Barry Bullis and the LRC out of office, Russ Johnson wrote to Supervisor-Elect John Salisbury asking for the open councilor seat vacated by Brian May. In his November letter, Russ wrote, “Regretfully, it seems as though our town government has sustained a progressively serious and disappointing disconnect with its constituency over the last year or so. This must be reversed if we are to effectively tackle very difficult times ahead. To that end, I have a sincere interest in helping you and the Board restore pride back into our town government.” Why the sudden change of heart, Russ?

When asked to explain the LRC’s nomination of Russ Johnson for town councilor last March, two officials, who are also members, said that, “Russ Johnson is a seasoned and experienced politician.” For once, I agree with the LRC. Russ Johnson is a seasoned, experienced and very professional politician. Prior to moving to Lysander just two years ago, Russ Johnson spent nearly 15 years as a member of the Oswego County Legislature. For 12 years of this time, he was also a Fulton city employee, a job that he held for another eight years before running for office. Why would the LRC nominate someone like Russ, who has lived in Lysander less than three years, but who was a powerful professional politician in a neighboring county for 15 years? I wonder.

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