Rep. Gibson speaks on Iran deal, possible run for NY governor

Rep. Chris Gibson took to the radio Sunday to weigh in on the U.S.’s deal with Iran and his prospects on a run for governor in 2018.

Gibson, R-Kinderhook , went on “The Cats Round Table” on Sunday, a New York City-based political show hosted by John Catsimatidis, a billionaire supermarket and oil magnate who lost a Republican bid for New York City mayor in 2013.

In the interview, Gibson joined the growing chorus of GOP opposition against President Barack Obama’s deal with Iran to restrict the country’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for lifting economic sanctions.  He said he has “grave concerns” in regards to verification and what Iran would to with extra money if the sanctions were lifted.

“We should reject this agreement,” Gibson said. “We should continue the pressure of sanctions.”

Gibson also gave some of his most expansive views so far of what he would do if he ran for governor. Gibson won a third term in Congress last November and soon after getting sworn in announced that he would not seek a fourth, at the same time saying he is exploring a run for statewide office in 2018, widely speculated to be governor.

Along with saying that he was sticking to his promise of term limits, Gibson said one of the reasons he decided not to run again for Congress is that he would need a full two years to overcome the state’s large Democratic enrollment edge to win a statewide race. He said he has not made a final decision to run for statewide office yet but is “looking very seriously” at it.

Gibson said Albany needs a “new direction” in regards to education and economic growth and criticized Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Safe Act gun control law. Gibson said not enough has been done in New York with regards to gun violence in the area of mental health which “makes communities less safe” and that he would “blaze a new path” in that area if he were governor.

“I don’t think the Safe Act makes us safer,” Gibson said.

Gibson said if he was governor he would promise to only run a certain amount of times and call for term-limit legislation.

“I would ask the Legislature to send me legislation that would codify that,” Gibson said.

The 19th Congressional District includes all of Ulster and Sullivan counties. It also includes Schoharie, Greene, Delaware, Columbia and Otsego counties, most of Rensselaer and Dutchess and parts of Montgomery and Broome counties. Gibson is a retired U.S. Army colonel.

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Quigley: I’m running for Town of Ulster supervisor

After initially saying he wouldn’t run again, Town of Ulster Supervisor Jim Quigley now says he’ll seek the GOP nomination for a third term in elections this November.

Town of Ulster Supervisor Jim Quigley

Quigley, 58, said he approached the head of Town of Ulster GOP Thursday, Ulster County Legislator Jim Maloney, to let him know that he’s interested in running for a third two-year term. Frederick Wadnola, a former town supervisor, had already expressed interest in running and has gained the Independence Party line.

According to Quigley, he received a tepid response.

“The bus has pulled out of the station, you’re too late,” Quigley said the general response.

Quigley, who has flirted before with dropping out the position before, said he changed his mind in the last six weeks because of ongoing talks to redevelop Ulster County’s largest industrial site, the former IBM building now dubbed TechCity.

Quigley said he’s convinced that efforts by the current owner of the property, CEO Alan Ginsberg, to sell the property are moving forward and that two companies with the financial wherewithal and technical expertise have emerged to buy the 258-acre site.

“It could change the face of the Town of Ulster,” Quigley said. “This is an opportunity I’d be remiss in not taking.”

While the sale is private, Quigley says he wants be supervisor as that deal moves forward for redevelopment. He also pointed to his record of economic development in the town as a reason he’s running. As for why he originally chose not to run, Quigley was unspecific.

“I’m a lousy politician, my feelings get the best of me,” Quigley said.

Quigley said he expects to face competition at the town’s Republican caucus this year. Maloney ultimately will set when the caucus takes place.

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Newburgh Democratic mayoral primary shrinks by one

There is one less City of Newburgh mayoral candidate for the Democratic Party line.

Orange County’s Board of Elections ruled invalid the petition submitted by Omari Shakur after his signatures were challenged by Jonathan Jacobson, the former city and county Democratic Committee head who is also seeking the mayor’s seat.

In addition to Shakur and Jacobson, incumbent Mayor Judy Kennedy and City Councilwoman Gay Lee also gathered signatures to run as Democrats. Now Democratic voters will get a less-crowded primary in September.

Election commissioners also invalidated the Democratic Party petition submitted by Council candidates James Thorpe III, Kevindaryan Lujan and Sheila Murphy.

 

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Debate scheduled for Kingston mayoral race

A debate has been scheduled for those running for mayor of the City of Kingston this November.

The debate has been scheduled for Sept. 8, between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Kingston Public Library at 55 Franklin Street in midtown Kingston, according to Rebecca Martin, who runs the group Kingston Citizens.

Shayne Gallo, a 55-year-old attorney, is seeking a second term in office in elections this November. He’s got competition from Steve Noble, a 32-year-old city Parks and Recreation Department employee. Both Democrats are vying for the Democratic Party line in a primary scheduled for Sept. 10, two days after the debate.

Former alderman Ron Polacco will be on the Republican Party line. He also may take the Conservative and Independence party lines if Gallo loses a court challenge against the county Board of Elections that kicked him off the primary ballot for those parties.

Martin said the debate will be moderated by the League of Women Voters and be according to their rules. Questions will be submitted the night of the debate by the public and chosen by local citizen groups, she said.

“We’re bringing them in to have a sense of trust,” Martin said.

The event is being organized by several organizations including Citizen Action and Kingston Citizens, Martin said, though she’s hoping more organizations will sign on.

Martin said invitations to the debate were sent to candidates Wednesday and Noble has already signed on. She’s waiting to hear back from Gallo and Polacco.

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City of Newburgh candidates see Green, Working Families petitions tossed

Orange County’s elections commissioners invalidated the Green Party petitions filed by Newburgh City Council candidates James Thorpe III and Kevindaryan Lujan, and by mayoral candidate and City Councilwoman Gay Lee.

They also invalidated Working Families Party petitions filed by Thorpe and at-large Councilman Cedric Brown.

Thorpe, Kevindaryan and Gay had their Green petitions tossed because they are not enrolled members of the party and needed the party’s permission to seek its line, elections Commissioner Susan Bahren said.

She and Commissioner David Green ruled the Working Families petitions invalid after striking signatures of people who were not enrolled members of the party or not registered at the address given.

Those stricken signatures left the candidates short of the four valid Working Families voters they needed.

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Gallo sues Ulster County BOE after being tossed from Indy and Conservative party lines

Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo is suing the commissioners of Ulster County Board of Elections and GOP mayoral candidate Ron Polacco after being tossed Tuesday from the Conservative and Independence party lines. 

Attorney Andrew Zweben, counsel for the City of Kingston and a Gallo ally, served the Board of Elections at about 2 p.m. Wednesday with an order to show cause and a verified petition. The action was filed in Supreme Court in Ulster County.

Gallo, a 55-year-old Democrat, was barred from the Independence and Conservative party lines Tuesday after a decision by BOE Commissioner Vic Work and Tom Turco, putting him in danger off being completely off the ballot this November.

Gallo’s paperwork to accept the Conservative and Independence party lines weren’t received on time to the Ulster County Board of Elections, according to BOE commissioners. Without judicial intervention, Gallo would not be on those lines for the primary or general election.

Gallo, who’s running for a second four-year term, is facing a tough Democratic primary this September from Steve Noble, a 32-year-old city Parks and Recreation Department employee who’s gained the endorsement of the city’s Democratic Committee.

If Gallo loses the Democratic primary and the judicial actions, he has limited options.

Gallo could mount a write-in campaign. He also has the option to create his own independent party line, though that would need to be filed between Aug. 11 through 18.  He would also need to find at least 309, and probably more, city residents to sign petitions who haven’t already signed a petition for any other mayoral candidate.

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Gallo kicked off Conservative, Independence party lines

Democratic Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo has been barred from the Independence and Conservative party lines, putting him in danger off being completely off the ballot this November.

Gallo’s paperwork to accept the Conservative and Independence party lines weren’t received on time to the Ulster County Board of Elections, according to the BOE’s Democratic Commissioner Vic Work.

“So, without judicial intervention he is not on those lines for the primary or general election,” Work said Tuesday.

Andrew Zweben, the Kingston counsel who’s also been working on Gallo’s campaign, said he had no time to comment on the situation Tuesday afternoon.

Gallo, who’s running for a second four-year term, is facing a tough Democratic primary this September from Steve Noble, a 32-year-old city Parks and Recreation Department employee who’s gained the endorsement of the city’s Democratic Committee.

If Gallo, a 55-year-old attorney who lives on Hone Street, loses the primary, he could try to create his own party line or mount a write-in campaign.

In the last six months Gallo out-raised Noble, taking in $9,337, to Noble’s $6,173.

Gallo has beat the odds before.  In 2011 he lost the Democratic nomination to then-Alderman Hayes Clement and forced a primary. Gallo edged out Clement in the Democratic primary that year by only seven votes and ended up sailing to victory in 2011 by more than 800 votes against Republican contender Ron Polacco, who’s running again this year.

The mayor makes $75,000 a year.

 

 

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(UPDATE) Working Families Party says Rasmussen not “serious candidate” for Ulster County exec

The Working Families Party has filed papers to kick a political new-comer off its line for the Ulster County executive’s race, claiming the Catskill Mountain Railroad volunteer is actually a supporter of GOP candidate Terry Bernardo.

Frederick Rasmussen, 53 and of Kingston, has filed petitions to challenge Democratic incumbent Mike Hein for the WFP line in Ulster County. Hein, 50 and from Hurley, was endorsed by the party earlier this month.

But Phillip Leber, Hudson Valley political director of the left-leaning Working Families Party, said Friday via email that Rasmussen’s challenge “is corrupt and ethically fraudulent” and is “falsely purporting to be a legitimate WFP candidate in this race.”

“His candidacy is part of a coordinated effort by the Republican candidate to confuse voters,” Leber says.

On Friday, New York State United Teachers spokesman Carl Korn called to confirm the Times Herald-Record received the press release from WFP. The powerful, 600,000-member strong organization is the state’s leading teacher’s union.

The WFP says Rasmussen has never attended a single meeting of the party, never participated in a single action in Ulster County, says he’s never voted and “has been identified in petitions as a supporter of the Republican candidate for county executive.”

The WFP says it’s filed legal action against Rasmussen to throw him off the party line.

“These attempts by Mr. Rasmussen and Republicans to corrupt the democratic process in Ulster County are shameful and the WFP stands fully committed to defending our values and our party and to seeing Mr. Rasmussen’s name removed from the ballot,” Leber says.

Calls to a phone number listed for Rasmussen were not returned Sunday afternoon.

Hein, a Republican before he first ran for county executive, is seeking his third term.

Rasmussen, according to the Catskill Mountain Railroad, has been a volunteer for the embattled tourist railroad company that’s clashed with Hein for years. The tourist railroad has been locked in a battle, both public and legal, with Hein’s administration over use of the county’s rail easement up to the Ashokan Reservoir.

Bernardo, 50 and from Accord, has also taken up the mantle of the CMRR, bringing them up in her announcement speech and writing about them on her Facebook page. In a Facebook post on May 16 writing about the executive’s race, Bernardo said the race “will mean the difference between the Catskill Mountain Railroad continuing to operate – OR – Ulster County putting them out of business.”

Hunter Downie, who’s looking to take the Green Party line in the executive’s race, has also been identified as a past volunteer for the tourist railroad.

UPDATE:

Rasmussen, via email, says he was not asked to run by Bernardo or anyone else associated with her campaign but by members of the Catskill Mountain Railroad.

Admitting he’s never voted before, Rasmussen says when he signed up he thought he was a member of the Working Families Party and when he found out he wasn’t but was eligible, he signed up.

Rasmussen says he’s running because of the lawsuit between Hein’s administration and the Catskill Mountain Railroad.

“I look forward to winning this nuisance legal action and running to be the Working Families Party candidate for county executive,” Rasmussen said.

The Railroad company has also been battling with Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, who wants to kick out the railroad before its lease on county property ends in 2016 and build a rail trail on the land.

Though Rasmussen says Hein has refused to sit down and listen to options, his original plan to have the whole corridor be just for trail has softened.

After months of heated debate on the issue, including a productive season where the Railroad was able to boost business and bring more tourists to uptown Kingston on the weekends, Hein in December proposed a compromise plan that would allow a tourism railroad alongside a trail within sections of the City of Kingston.

But the Railroad, who’s lease on the county’s easement ends next year, wants to expand its operations seven miles out to the Ashokan Reservoir’s Glenford Dike.

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(UPDATED) Four on ballot, so far, to run for Ulster County executive

Four candidates have emerged to run for Ulster County executive, according to the county Board of Elections.

Incumbent Michael Hein, from Hurley, is looking to gain the Democratic and Working Families Party lines.  Former Ulster County Legislature Chair Terry Bernardo, from Accord, has filed petitions to run on the Republican, Conservative and Independence party lines.

Frederick Rasmussen III, from Kingston, has also filed petition to run on the Working Families Party and may end up challenging Hein in a primary for the party line. Hein has been endorsed by the Working Families Party.

Finally, Hunter Downie of West Shokan has filed petitions to run on the Green Party line.

Objections to the petitions have already begun to roll in. Bernardo’s Republican designating petitions have been challenged by Marcia Goulart and Nancy Schaef, both past contributors to Hein’s campaign war chest. Both have until July 16 to file specific objections.

(UPDATE) Both Downie and Rasmussen have been volunteers for the embattled Catskill Mountain Railroad. The tourist railroad has been locked in a battle, both public and legal, with Hein’s administration over use of the county’s rail easement up to the Ashokan Reservoir.

Bernardo has also taken up the mantle of the CMRR, bringing them up in her announcement speech and writing about them on her Facebook page. In a Facebook post on May 16 writing about the executive’s race, Bernardo said the race “will mean the difference between the Catskill Mountain Railroad continuing to operate – OR – Ulster County putting them out of business.”

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UPDATED (third time): Two Dem candidates for Ulster County Legislature decline nomination

Two Democratic candidates for Ulster County Legislature look like they’ll be dropping out of the race.

Tim Distel, of Wawarsing, who had been looking to take on Republican Craig Lopez from Pine Bush, has declined the Democratic nomination, according to the Ulster County Board of Elections. The district encompasses most of Wawarsing, minus the Village of Ellenville, and the west end of Shawangunk.

Distel, son of Wawarsing Supervisor Leonard Distel, was defeated in 2013 by Republican incumbent Craig Lopez in a recount for Ulster County’s 14th legislative district by just 9 votes despite a war chest that dwarfed Lopez’s. It was the second time Lopez defeated Distel.

Also looking to decline the nomination is Jane Ann Williams, a Town of New Paltz Democrat vying for the open 17th legislative district being vacated by Ken Wishnick. The district encompasses the Town of New Paltz, minus the village, and the southwest end of Esopus.

County Board of Elections Commissioner Vic Work said he hadn’t officially received the Williams’ declination but heard it was in the mail. New Paltz Town Supervisor Sue Zimet and New Paltz Democratic Committee Chair Josh Honig also confirmed Williams will decline the nomination because of an ongoing medical issue that recently became more of an issue.

But even if Williams doesn’t run, that doesn’t mean Randall Leverette of New Paltz, who’s wants the GOP and Independence Party lines, will be without a challenger. Committees to fill vacancies for both seats have just a few days in each race to swap in new Democratic candidates.

Zimet, who won’t run again for town supervisor this November, said she’s been approached to fill the vacancy she said she’s got too many other things on her plate to run, though she didn’t totally rule out a run.

Honig and Zimet both declined to say who they’ll put forth to fill the vacancy, other than to say they’re from New Paltz. Zimet said the person has experience with New Paltz’s issues with sales tax and the county Industrial Development Agency.

County Democratic Committee Chair Frank Cardinale nor Distel did not return calls for comment. Williams could not be reached for comment.

While Republicans in the county Legislature lost their razor-thin majority in 2013, 13-10, GOP legislators have formed a loose coalition with a group of breakaway Democrats, allowing Republicans to keep key committee seats, smack away Democrats choice for chair and wrest some power away from the Democratic majority.

All 23 seats  are up for grabs this year in the county Legislature.  Legislators make $10,000 a year, with the chair making $19,500 and the majority and minority leaders taking home $12,000 each.

(UPDATE) Frank Cardinale called back and said he doesn’t want to give out the names of who will be put forward to fill the vacancies of Distel and Williams saying it would be “unfair” to the candidates to put that pressure on them.

(UPDATE 2) Tim Distel says that he’s applied for a position in law enforcement and if he gets the job wouldn’t be able to finish out his term in office, so he declined the nomination.

(UPDATE 3) The committee in charge of filling vacancies in both Distel and Williams’ petitions are party members Cardinale, Karen Markisenis and Joe O’Connor. So ultimately they’ll hold a fair amount of power over what candidates will be in the Democratic ballot, despite their names never being on petitions. Cardinale said he’s going to take his cue from the local Democratic committees.

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