STUYVESANT FALLS – Over 200 people gathered at the VFW post pavilion here on a bright, warm Saturday for the annual Columbia County Republican Committee Picnic. The party’s candidates for countywide office were present as were elected representatives not up for election this year, including Congressman Chris Gibson (R-20th).
The keynote speaker after the barbecue was served was the county executive of Westchester County, Rob Astorino, and the crowd also heard from Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R-127) and from state Senator Steve Saland (R-41st), who warned his listeners that “all kinds of mischief can happen in Albany” at this time of year as the legislative session draws to a close. Mr. Saland called the state Senate an “island of reason and sanity” and he predicted, “We will get a tax cap, one that we can work with” in this session.
Mr. Astorino, who was elected in a heavily Democratic county, which he said was an example of “liberalism gone wild” because of overspending, said that Republicans needed to act in a fiscally responsible manner but with compassion and with “spine,” admonishing his audience that “We can’t start collapsing every time the noise gets loud.”
County GOP Chairman Greg Fingar followed up by reminding fellow Republicans, “We no longer have a majority” in terms of registration. “The races are going to get tougher,” he said.
The candidates the Republican Committee wants to see on the ballot this November are Beth Cozzolino for County Court judge, Paul Czajka for district attorney, P.J. Keeler for county treasurer and Jim Bertram for county coroner. The committee has also selected County Court Judge Jonathan Nichols as its choice to run for one of the open seats on the state Supreme Court from the 3rd Judicial District.