Letter: Candidate Forum

We believe a healthy democracy relies on an informed citizenry and that anyone seeking public office, regardless of party, should stand before the people they hope to serve, talk to them and listen.

In that spirit, at 3 p.m. on Oct. 16, we are hosting a candidates’ forum on our lawn at The Cottage, 20 The Boulevard, in Cold Spring, at the historic home of William Kemble that was once visited by Abraham Lincoln. The League of Women Voters of Putnam County will moderate the event, which is open to the public. We will serve refreshments to all our neighbors and celebrate the place we live.

Kemble House

The Kemble House

Also invited, of course, are the candidates running for village, town and county offices. The majority of the Democratic hopefuls have said they can attend, along with Cold Spring mayoral candidate Kathleen Foley and trustee candidates Yaslyn Daniels, Tweeps Phillips and Eliza Starbuck.

Much to our dismay, the Republican candidates have declined, as have the other village candidates. We very much hope they will reconsider, as robust debate among candidates from both parties is good for our community and good for our democracy.

Whether all the candidates participate or not, the event will go on as scheduled. Voters benefit when they hear from and can respond to the people asking for their votes. Democracy benefits, too. We hope that all the candidates will come and inform the people who vote for them.

Marianne Sutton and David Watson, Cold Spring

2 thoughts on “Letter: Candidate Forum

  1. There was a time when political candidates were willing to face the voters in forums, no matter the party they belong to. It was expected of them. How else would people know what their platforms were -– what made them different from the other candidates running for the same position? Now it is impossible to get both parties on the dais together. Why is that? Are they afraid of the questions that might be asked of them -– that they might not appeal to voters as well as their opponent does?

    As the situation stands, we, the voters, don’t have a choice but to vote the party line. We really know very little about the candidates who are running, so we play it safe and stay with the party we are registered with, even though we might not like all the candidates. Alas, “crossover voting” seems to be a thing of the past, and that is sad. If we were educated by both parties, we could choose the person who seems best suited for the position. Isn’t that how democracy should work?

    Hoenig is vice president of the League of Women Voters of Putnam County.

  2. Phyllis Hoenig’s comment, in a well-intended attempt at gracious fairness, was a “pox on both your houses,” “both sides-ism” type criticism of both the Democratic and Republican parties for not holding public debates.

    My beef is not with the League of Women Voters; they are a non-partisan arbiter. The fact is the Democrats have been trying to publicly debate the Republicans, but Republicans keep running from them. I myself “witnessed” a scheduled LWV debate at the Putnam Valley Middle School that didn’t happen due to the Republicans pulling out at the 11th hour. I stood in the parking lot outside the venue with several of the Democratic candidates witnessing the Republican “no show” -– after originally agreeing to the debate.

    Perhaps Republicans fear having to defend their exorbitant self-awarded salaries in public? Our county legislators have awarded themselves one of the highest payrolls of any county legislature in the state — higher than that of Westchester County legislators! — while our taxes continue to go up so do our Republican legislators’ salaries. And what do we get in return? Very little, as far as I can tell. And they obviously don’t want to talk about it in public. The Democrats are eager to debate the Republicans in this county –- we keep trying.

    Kuvach is a member of the Putnam Valley Democratic Committee.