By ROCCO ARTESIAN
The man who won a stunning victory in the 2014 New York State assembly race – by just 37 votes – has just officially announced that he will seek another term. The afternoon after a blizzard hit Orange County, New York (and much of the Eastern seaboard), a large crowd came out to a Port Jervis restaurant to support the state’s 98th District Assemblyman, Karl Brabenec; there was literally “standing room” only.
Attending the event were several local leaders, including county legislators, police chiefs, municipal officials, Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler, and Orange County Sheriff Carl DuBois – who took the stage and publicly endorsed Brabenec. DuBois has a perfect track record in his endorsements – meaning those who he gets behind, win.
Brabenec, an outgoing and aggressive – but likeable personality – has spent the first two years in the state legislature pushing a conservative agenda that benefits hard-working taxpayers. He has been disappointed with liberal entitlement programs and reckless spending. He was baffled when Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a veterans’ pension buy-back program, a bill that passed in both the state senate and assembly. This was the second consecutive year that Cuomo vetoed this necessary measure.
Brabenec, who sponsored the bill, said, “It’s disrespectful to the men and women of our military, simple as that. I told the governor months ago not to veto this legislation. I can’t understand why this bill, having widespread bi-partisan support and being of little to no cost to taxpayers, has been vetoed by Governor Cuomo two years in a row. I’ve been fighting for this bill for months, and the people of this state should not let him continue to get away with this kind of outrageous behavior.”
A proponent of the Good Government Bill – which allows any bill with at least 76 sponsors to automatically come before the assembly floor for a vote – Brabenec said, “This bill is one of many proposals championed by the Assembly Minority to increase participation, transparency and the overall democratic function of our government. Currently, many majority conference members of the Assembly are pawns to the leadership and do not allow bills to pass through their committees that are not in line with the Speaker’s priorities, despite overwhelming bi-partisan support. Democracy should not be autocratic, one-party rule, but, unfortunately, that is how the Assembly Majority wants business done in Albany. I am officially calling on Assembly leadership to bring this bill to the floor for an up-or-down vote.”
This year, with growth in support after a successful term, Brabenec comes in as the favorite. He faces challenges, though, in a district that is definitively contested, meaning that both Republicans and Democrats have the ability to win.
One supporter said, “This is why Karl will win. He has strong conservative principles in economics and protection of our constitutional rights, which appeals to most people. He also knows how to work and speak with anyone. He’s very educated, but he’s down to earth. That translates into Independents liking him, and even some Democrats will cast a vote for the guy.” The supporter then took a look at himself in the mirror and asked, “I wonder if he realizes how big my arms are?” That was as baffling as Cuomo’s veto of the veterans’ pension buy-back program bill.
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