John Mannion (D), running for congress, addressed the audience at the ninth annual Manlius Political Breakfast held on Sept. 25 at the Cavalry Club. (photo by Lauren Young)
Twelve candidates running for upcoming state and county elections made their voices heard at the ninth annual Manlius Political Breakfast held on Sept. 25 at the Cavalry Club in Manlius. The event, sponsored by the Greater Manlius Chamber of Commerce, allows citizens a chance to listen to speeches from each candidate about their qualifications and views.
Bill Hadadd, deputy mayor of the Village of Canastota, gave a short speech before candidates and reminded them that there is “41 days, 16 hours until November 6, so it’s almost there.”
Each candidate got three minutes to speak to the crowd about why they are running in their prospective seats. This year, 12 candidates, or their representatives, in state and county elections were present to speak to attendees, including:
For State Governor
There are three candidates running for New York State Governor: Incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), Marc Molinaro (R) and Howie Hawkins (G) — only Hawkins attended the breakfast.
Though Mark Molinaro (R) was not present, he was represented by Julie Killian, who is running alongside him for lieutenant governor.
“High taxes, the crumbling infrastructure, the corruption, the high-energy costs, the poor inner city schools — those are all choices. We don’t have to make that choice; we can make a new choice on Nov. 6,” said Killian.
To make New York State affordable would mean a “great future,” said Killian.
Hawkins said he chose to represent the Green Party because “the major parties can’t solve problems, simple problems,” like lowering the cost of living and doing business in New York. “Vote for what you want and make the politicians come to you — don’t vote for the lesser of the evil, because you’ll just get lost in the sauce.”
There are two candidates running for the state’s 24th Congressional District: Incumbent Congressman John Katko (R) and Dana Balter (D), who did not attend the breakfast.
Katko talked about how one of the reasons he entered the race a few years ago was because of the “outgrowth of jobs in Central New York.”
“We’ve lost so many manufacturing jobs — 30,000 … I wanted to bring those jobs back,” he said. But now, “for the first time in a long time in this country, there’s more job openings than people looking for jobs,” which he called a “good problem to have.”
“I’m one of the most bipartisan members of all of congress,” said Katko. “Bipartisanship works — I think that the far left and far right have had a stranglehold on congress too long. It’s time for us to get back to the middle and start governing again, and I’m glad to be an example of that.”
For State Senate
Candidates running for the state’s 50th Congressional District, a seat left open by Sen. John DeFrancisco (R), include John Mannion (D) and Bob Antonacci (R).
According to Mannion, “If you want to know the feelings that are happening within your community — go to a school board meeting.”
“I’ve taught kids for 25 years and I’ve been deeply embedded with them and their families,” said Mannion, a West Genesee High School teacher. Canvassing door to door, he said, taught him that there is a lot of “frustration” with elected officials because there is “too great of a disconnect between them and their constituents.” He said this needs to change and there must be ethics reform in Albany “immediately.”
Antonacci said while he and Mannion have much in common, the difference between them is that Antonacci, “walked the walk, and not only talked the talk,” he said.
“You have seen me in action at the country controller’s office for 11 years. You know that I have stood up for you, fought like hell for all of you, and I’ve got the scars to prove it,” he said. “It’s not easy standing up to your own party, it’s not easy taking on the county legislature, but I will take on the state legislature and I will fight for Upstate New York and Central New York in Albany.”
Running for a seat in the state’s 53rd Congressional District is Rachel May (D), who recently won the Democratic primary against Sen. David Valesky, and Janet Burman (R). Valesky will remain on the ballot under the Independence Party but is unsure if he will actively campaign. Of the three candidates, only May attended the breakfast.
Like Mannion, May said she has heard a lot of “dissatisfaction” from residents while canvassing, especially relating to democracy, affordable healthcare and state voting laws.
“The state senate has been the roadblock to making sensible reforms to our elections laws — we can change that,” she said.
May said her experience in sustainability education at Syracuse University also equips her with “problem-solving” skills when it comes to complex issues, like climate change.
For State Assembly
There are two candidates running for state assembly for the 127th district: Incumbent Al Stirpe (D) and Nicholas Paro (R).
While Paro is the youngest candidate running in the upcoming state elections, he explained how his young age puts him in a position to understand what others in his age group want when they’re looking for somewhere to move and start a career.
“It’s very difficult nowadays for young individuals like myself to put our roots here and start a family,” said Paro. Objectives like lowering taxes, bringing more job opportunities to the state and exposing corruption are essential for keeping young professionals in New York, he said.
Stirpe, running for re-election, talked about the importance of public education and his accomplishments in the assembly, including the recent announcement of a new program, in the works for nearly two years, called “The Central Unmanned Aerial System Jobs Fund.” Stirpe said the fund will, “attract top companies in the unmanned aerie systems business.”
“These are good jobs; so far of the 189 jobs that we’ve signed up from this fund, the average salary is $89,600,” said Stirpe.
For County Sherriff
There are two candidates running for country sheriff: Incumbent Sherriff Gene Conway and Mike Montes.
Conway talked about his experience and emphasized “community.” In his four years of being sheriff, he said he was within budget every year, witnessed 100 percent clearance of homicides under his department and the “largest seizure of cocaine in Onondaga County history.”
Montes also discussed his experience and said Onondaga is “a county in crisis,” referring to two recent mass shootings. He also discussed his concern for the county’s justice center rating — one of the worst facilities in the state.
“I’m concerned about the justice center, which is rated as one of the top five worst facilities in New York State — this can’t be,” said Montes. “We have a $1.3 million budget in Onondaga County, we need to have somebody who has the passion and desire to find out what the problems are there.”
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.