Reader Endorsements: State Senate

Thank heavens that we have early voting in 2020. State Sen. Sue Serino opposed this positive development. Serino, who represents the Highlands, has consistently voted against early voting, citing costs. Yes, there are expenses, but voting is a distinguishing feature of a democracy.

Serino even voted against allowing COVID-19 to be an excuse for getting an absentee ballot. She also voted against expanding voter registration by allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to register, although they would not be allowed to vote until they turned 18.

Serino appears to be in lockstep with the Republicans, who are afraid to make it easier for citizens to vote because they think large turnouts don’t help them. Her opponent, Karen Smythe, knows large turnouts in elections are a good thing for our democracy. Smythe welcomes making it easier for all eligible citizens to vote.

Early voting started Saturday (Oct. 24). Vote!

Susan Anspach, Cold Spring

I’m concerned about Sue Serino’s positions on reproductive choice at a time when the U.S. Supreme Court is approaching a majority of justices who are willing to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Serino recently voted against the Reproductive Choice Act, which would have made Roe v. Wade legal in New York state even if the Supreme Court overturns the federal precedent. As a woman, I want to make sure all women in New York have the ability to make their own choices about when, if and how to bear children. Serino is too conservative for our district, and I’m proud to support Karen Smythe, whose positions on choice, climate change, jobs and human rights are the ones we need in our state Legislature.

Donna Minkowitz, Beacon

With so many people out of work, kids attending school remotely, businesses closed and life turned on its head, I wasn’t thinking about Election Day until I started to think about our school tax bill coming due.

When it comes to this unprecedented time, I want to vote for a leader I trust. There is one person who treats my tax dollars like their own, who I’ve seen get results. That’s why I’m voting for Sue Serino — one of the few politicians I’ve actually seen in action.

My kids go to the Spackenkill school district, which was recently hit with a penalty of $5.5 million by the state government for a ridiculous paperwork error that was made years ago. In our district, where a number of students qualify for free and reduced price lunch, that’s a huge chunk of change.

Undoing the penalty takes state legislation, and those bills are almost never passed or signed by the governor, but Sue got it done. She was the first to even notice the penalty existed. If you care about your tax dollars, our schools, and the future of our community, I hope you will join me in supporting Sue this year.

Stephanie Galati, Poughkeepsie

Residents of Dutchess and Putnam counties have been hit hard by the pandemic. As we work for a better future, we deserve a state senator who represents our views and will stand with us. Born and raised in Poughkeepsie, Karen Smythe is that person. She ran her family’s union construction business, raised her kids in the Hudson Valley, and has extensive experience working with nonprofits. Karen also coached soccer, taught Sunday school, and served as a Vassar College trustee.

Karen is right on the issues most of us care about. She will protect our environment and a woman’s right to choose. She will acknowledge structural racism and work for a more just and equitable society. And, she’ll aim to extend broadband to rural areas and city neighborhoods that are internet deserts.

Karen is not afraid to say that it’s wrong for wealthier communities to have better schools because their residents can pay higher school taxes. With the state’s budget decimated by the coronavirus, she knows these inequities can only get worse. Karen will seek and support alternative funding mechanisms, including a more equitable tax system.

Even before the pandemic, too many of us were unable to find jobs that pay a decent wage. As our economy reboots, Karen will work to attract emerging sectors, like green technology, to create well-paying jobs.

By contrast, our current state senator will continue to do what her leadership tells her to do. I urge every reader to vote for Karen Smythe.

Debi Duke, Rhinebeck

I’m a veteran and a senior and nothing about this pandemic has been easy. I’m a social guy, used to people coming and going from my home that I’m fortunate to share with my daughter and her family. In a typical week, we get visitors almost every night, and I’ve never been dependent on anyone for anything.

The lockdown and the isolation it’s created hasn’t been easy and I just want to publicly thank Sue Serino for always being there for guys like me and my family.

Last weekend, I attended the drive-thru senior event she held with the Office for the Aging and a drive-thru veterans’ appreciation dinner she put on with the great guys from Vet2Vet. I’ve been going to these events for years and I was so happy that Sue got creative to make them happen for us again this year, at a time when they were more important than ever.

While most people have been retreating into their homes, it’s clear that Sue has been out there every day helping to keep people safe and working for us. As a Korean War veteran, I spent a lot of years around politicians, and I know that most make a lot of promises they never seem to keep. Not Sue. She’s always there for us, no matter what challenges come up along the way.

That’s why I’ll be proud to vote for Sue again this year and I hope others will do the same.

Martin Kirwan, Wappingers Falls

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and, as a survivor myself, I want to thank Sue Serino for being so open with her own battle with the disease this year. Sue works 24/7 in a normal year, but when the pandemic hit, I watched her go into overdrive.

When she was diagnosed with breast cancer only a few months later, knowing how much it can take out of you, I wondered how it would impact her always high energy, but she never stopped. Sue continued to show up time and again whenever our neighbors needed her.

On top of that, she used her own experience to encourage others to get their mammograms and take care of their own health. After hearing her story, so many people I know made it a priority to do what they had to do to get their own appointments squared away and that message has been invaluable.

I’ve never submitted a letter to the editor, but with Election Day coming up, I hope people consider what a true champion we have here working for us. No one cares more about our community than Sue does which is why I’ll be voting for her in this year’s election.

Sarah Herman, Poughkeepsie

Many of us believe that the subject of veterans’ health needs to be apolitical. All political parties must work together for the common goal of ensuring the health and quality of life of the veteran and their families. This is ever so important at the local level.

I was appalled at the erroneous claim made by Karen Smythe’s campaign that Sue Serino opposed funding for the Veterans Peer Counseling Program. The Smythe campaign did come forward and claim they made a mistake and “transposed” bill numbers. Everyone makes mistakes, that’s understood. However, this is a critical and sensitive subject which deserved more research and scrutiny before being published by the Smythe campaign.

What makes this original claim even more outrageous is the fact that Sen. Serino has been the veteran advocate and voice in Albany since she was elected. I can personally say that the senator not only attends all veteran activities and meetings but she persists to learn the issues and works with all of us to find solutions.

Each time the peer counseling program was in jeopardy on the state budget, Sen. Serino led the charge and garnered support to ensure that funding was established for this life-saving service program.  My concern over time as we watch government budgets shrink is that the fight for veterans’ mental health funds will be more critical than ever. We have already seen in some political agendas where veteran issues are taking a “backseat” to more politically correct fads designed to garner votes.

Sen. Serino’s experience, leadership, and passion is welcomed now more than ever to ensure veterans have a friend in Albany.

Ferg Foley, Hopewell Junction

If you have been following the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings for the U.S. Supreme Court, her record shows that she has and will follow the Constitution.

Sue Serino is of the same suit! She has been consistent in all matters, but most especially for women. Personally, what I really like about Sue Serino is that she is unwilling to play the game of politics when she casts her votes on important issues that affect our everyday lives.

For those of us who care about life, it is easy to see that the killing of babies, unborn and born, is morally wrong, and that is why her vote against the Reproduction Choice Act is an important vote against the overall well being of women! Thank you, Sue Serino, for your careful analysis of this important issue!

Clare Capossela, Garrison

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