In 2005, I formed my own political party and ran for the office of town council in my hometown of Eden.  I did so not because I was dedicated to serving on the town board, but because the Eden Democratic and Republican Parties had crossed endorsed two candidates for two town council seats—-in simple terms, they took away any reason for voters to go to the polls.

I was disgusted by the cross endorsement and its disregard of our valued voting process.  So I took that message to the town of Eden through door to door and online blog campaign efforts.  The end result of my campaign was a loss at the polls, but a victory within the political system as the leader of the Eden Democrats gave me his word that they would never cross endorse again—-and to this day, they have not.

The upcoming candidate debate at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society sponsored by the New York City based City and State Magazine, along with support from PPG and the YWCA of Western New York, reminds me of that cross endorsement election.  The format of the event is flawed in the way that it is being presented to the public as a debate of primary and general elections.  While it is a public debate, it is a selective event that did not provide voters with true and accurate information on the candidates running in primaries featured in this debate.

WNY’ers are familiar with debates sponsored by organizations such as the League of Women Voters, where all candidates in a race are listed and invited. To selectively choose candidates in specific political races for a public debate is a disservice to our community and an insult to those candidates who have stepped forward to run for office. 

It is for that reason that I protested to City and State, PPG and the YWCA of WNY that my name and my primary were not included in their debate for the NYS Assembly Race in the 147th District.  With each protest I made it very clear that at this late date, I was not asking to participate.  Rather I was protesting that my name—my candidacy—–my campaign— was being unfairly and unequally left out of a public information debate. 

I am pleased that the debate organizers have decided to now include my primary race in their event  Now, at least in the race for the NYS Assembly in the 147th District, the information they are putting out to the community about those running for the office is accurate.  However, I have declined to attend the debate.  It was never my intent to debate.  It was my intent to do my best to ensure that the voters of WNY were given clear and accurate information about ALL candidates in my assembly race.

I have a primary race in 26 days. I have a very ambitious campaign plan for those 26 days to get out to 1,000 of my voting constituents.  In order to do that I have to stay on task and follow through because, in the end, the constituents are the most important part of this or any political campaign.  They are why I am running.  They are who I will serve as the assemblywoman in the 147th district—-not City and State Magazine, not PPG, not the YWCA of WNY and not any of the bloggers or politicos who are suggesting that my actions concerning this debate are anything less than true and honest.