ktx sq lomo 1923 Abraham Lincoln 3-cent stamp(Editor’s note: Be sure to read our cover story on this race in this week’s print edition of the Kingston Times.)

Don’t be distracted

Recently, the name “carpetbagger” has been used to describe Sean Eldridge as he makes a bid for Congress in New York’s 19th District. Eldridge only recently moved to the 19th District.

As a native New Yorker, I am puzzled as to why this is an issue. After all, New York has a long history of welcoming people, including politicians, to the state from all over the country and the world. It is one of the strengths of this state which has contributed to its stellar place in the history of the U.S. Does anybody remember the campaigns of Bobby Kennedy and, more recently, Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg and Bill deBlasio, who was born in New York but raised in Cambridge, Mass. (three of the four from the Boston area of all places)?

In addition to the local issues facing the Hudson Valley, members of Congress must also deal with national issues like the economy; immigration reform; extending benefits for the unemployed; cuts to the food stamp program; whether or not to raise the minimum wage; the national debt; and the unsettled situation in the Middle East. The list goes on and on. Isn’t it better to concentrate on the candidates’ stands on these issues than to be distracted by the issue of where a candidate was born and raised?  Shouldn’t Gibson be required to answer why his Republican party has obstructed votes on these issues?  Shouldn’t Eldridge be required to articulate how his election might change the gridlock in Congress?

I urge all my fellow voters in the 19th District to pay attention to what the candidates say on these important issues and not be distracted by the trivia which frequently emerges in a close race.

Al Ragucci, Rhinebeck

 

Downright scary

We currently have a congressman, Chris Gibson who in this writer’s opinion represents the values that I hold so dearly as an American. The congressman comes from a middle class family that actually lives in the 19th Congressional District and has for his entire life. Our congressman represents “the people” who live in the 19th, not the special-interest groups that line K Street in Washington, D.C., like a cab stand after a Broadway show.

On the other hand, we have an individual that would like to represent the 19th CD whose name is Sean Eldridge. Mr. Eldridge is not from our area, nor our state and is a native of Canada. As a small business owner we don’t run in the same circles, but I do believe that anyone who feels he can do better then our current representative deserves to have his day in court. “The Court of Public Opinion.” It has been my experience that when a challenger wants a seat in Congress that he should be initiating the process of the debate.

Now I totally understand that your campaign is in total disarray given the fact that you fired your campaign manager, Mike Reid, recently for undisclosed reasons. Perhaps you can get one of your underlings to start scheduling these debates.

I stopped by your Kingston office on a few occasions only to find the door locked and no one there to answer my questions, of which I have many. I would love to be able to attend one of your fundraisers. The problem for me is they are all a bit too pricy for me. Also I would love to rub elbows with the likes of Nancy Pelosi and her crew who all seem to have a sudden interest in what’s going on in Upstate New York.

Here are a few suggestions that may help you to get your message out:

1. Pick a few neutral places to have your debates.

2. Set dates and times for your debates.

3. Be sure to invite the media.

4. Being you are a newcomer to the area, I would suggest you Mapquest the directions to said venues.

5. Simply show up, it’s that easy.

I’m sure our current Congressman would oblige you, unless of course you don’t have the answers and just plan on a barrage of negative television ads at the very last minute in the vain hope that people who do little else but watch TV will show up at the polls and vote for you for one reason only — you’re a Democrat.

Readers, it is time to wise up. Anyone who would even consider voting for Sean Eldridge for Congress needs to have their heads examined. Do some research on both of the candidates for yourselves and ask yourself one question, Why is Sean Eldridge running for such an important position as your representative in Congress? I’ll tell you, it is because he can afford to. That’s why! One additional  thing, we are at a very critical time when it comes to the security of our nation. Readers, ask yourselves, “Do I really want a person with no political experience what so ever sitting on the Congressional Armed Services Committee and its subcommittees?” The thought not only offends me, it downright scares me.

Harold Kelly, Durham