Issues

The meat and potatoes of any campaign is where does the candidate stand on the issues. There is no way I can possibly cover everything of interest to every voter in a few paragraphs, but here are a few of the topics. Feel free to speak with me in person to learn more.

Individual Freedom

I count this as one of the biggest issues facing every elected official. Our nation prospers because we can all speak freely, without fear of reprisal from the Government, organizations, or individuals that have different beliefs and views. This is even more true at the local level.

Elected officials MUST take care to balance every law and ordinance, every budget cut or expense, with the freedoms that it affects. If the well-being of constituents, our family, neighbors, and friends are foremost in our legislative actions, then the results will be positive in the long-term.

** This includes: 1st Amendment, 2nd Amendment, Law enforcement, County debt & spending

Economy

New York State is the least business friendly State in the nation. That’s a challenge for every small, local, or larger business. The County Legislature can’t change Albany, but we can nurture those businesses that are willing to see the opportunity we hold.

We need local government to understand that going for the “home run” won’t work. Far too often we have been promised that this or that industry will come to the area – after getting sweetheart deals – and change our collective fortunes for the better. Every time, a year or 2 down the road we then get told the initial promises will never happen, and the transformation is still off in the horizon.

Let’s try something different.Creating an environment that both encourages and supports business. Let’s focus on the small- and mid-sized business that are already here. Let’s give them the incentives to add just 1 or 2 employees each. To expand just a little bit more, getting new customers and markets knowing that their community stands behind them with support.

According to the 2017 Census there are some 4210 businesses employing 71,176 people. As of December 2019, that grew by about 2,000 employees, which is good – but left 4000 unemployed (roughly 5% or 1.5x the national average). If we could help just half the local existing businesses we can reach historic levels of employment.

** This includes: Taxation levels, Forgivable loans, Tax abatements, Property taxes, Water & Sewage, Blighted buildings

Accountable & Responsive Government

I believe elected officials are OBLIGATED to serve those that elect them. That means speaking with the community, understanding their needs, and standing for those needs without regard to Party or personal preferences – as much as humanly possible.

Michael at home in Legislative District 13

I won’t turn my back on the 2nd Amendment, as an example, or compromise values I have built over 50 years. But I won’t hide from the public where I stand and why. Before and after being elected.

Equally I will actively listen, especially when faced with something that challenges my personal values. We are all human, none of us have the perfect answer to anything. But perhaps there is some part of an idea I oppose that can enhance the position I hold. Maybe there is room to bend. As a member of the Legislature I stand for my constituents first.

Term limits

To be most accountable is to be guaranteed a limited time in an elected position. Nothing sets a fire under you like knowing the clock is running out of time to get something done. Politics is no different.

No matter how mundane or expansive the goal may be, if you can’t get it done in 3 terms (6 years) you need to move on. Fresh blood needs to step in and achieve what you cannot, with new energy and purpose. New eyes need to see and tackle the obstacles in the way.

Elected office is not a career in my mind. It is meant to advance to a goal, and then move on. At every level of Government, no one should hold office indefinitely. That’s where corruption and lack of effort set in.

If I can serve as Legislator as well as I believe I can, and gain the improvements in community I hope to attain, then I will have created fertile ground for someone else to step in and run with the ball. That’s how effective government is run, in my opinion.

Written March 9, 2010

The “And then what” approach

I have over the years often said, ‘and then what happens next‘. It’s a question that is rarely applied to politics at any level. What are the consequences of the choices made?

High taxes and restrictive laws have driven over 1.2 million of our friends and family members out of the State, and our community. Along with them went businesses we love, work at, and use – leaving us with a mall that is merely an empty shell as an example. All of it predictable in outcome.

How many jobs could we have saved, how many friends and family would be near, how much lower could our tax burden be if only someone publicly asked “and then what?” Maybe nothing changes. Then again, maybe that changes everything. Shouldn’t we have a Legislator asking that question on behalf of constituents?

But there is more…

As I said at the beginning, there is no way to address everything in a few paragraphs. I stand for much more, and in greater detail. But I want to answer your questions, on the issues that matter to you. I want a conversation to make sure I serve you the best that I can.

I look at this page, and the campaign, as an icebreaker. Candidates and elected officials are no different than anyone else. I know this after a decade of speaking with them. Letting your voice be heard is fundamental to a better government – at every level. So speak to me, help me “get it” so I can do it.

Written June 9, 2020