To the editor:
I read with great sadness the passing of Supervisor Shayne Walters. I never had the pleasure of meeting the supervisor and know of him only through countless newspaper reports over the years. By his actions and words Supervisor Walters struck me as a man of great integrity and character; a rare combination on today's political scene. To quote James Freeman Clark, "A politician thinks of the next election, a statesman thinks of the next generation." I do believe Supervisor Walters was just such a generational thinker. Truly, the town of Charleston and Montgomery County have suffered a tremendous loss with his passing.
I wish grace and peace for his family and collegues during the difficult days ahead and to Supervisor Walters I would say, "Well done, good and faithful servant.'
Cheese, grapes, hops & garlic
To the editor:
Speaking with numerous farmers in the region, it seems clear to me that even though agriculture has been a vital part of our region and economy it doesn't seem to always get the attention and support it deserves. Any revitalization of the region must include agriculture, it is part of our past and must be part of our future. New York state has a rich history of agriculture and we need to build on this. Dairy makes up most of our farms but with many dairy farms shutting down and the current ones having a tough time making ends meet, our dairy industry must adapt to changes. At the same time we must remove the barriers that are imposed on the dairy farmers regarding how much they can charge for their milk. This should be a free market system and one that I will fight for if elected. As an avid grower of numerous agricultural products, I believe farms must diversify and offer other agricultural products on top of dairy. A perfect example of this are the two Greek Yogurt plants that have come into the area and employ hundreds of people. We need to do more of this and expand the idea of cost added products like adding various varieties of cheeses and ricotta products. For example: Italian cheese makers and others who would like to break into the U.S. market don't really know our area exists or what our area has to offer. So we must do a much better job of marketing our area to companies around the world.
We also have some of the best soil in the country for growing garlic. Our soil produces better quality garlic than that of California. If we promote and broaden this market, there is no reason why we cannot compete with California growers. Also, I and several others have begun growing wine grapes and small vineyards have already become established in the region. There is no reason why we cannot grow grapes and become a similar destination for wine production as has happened in the Finger Lakes. Imagine the big boost to tourism for our region. One other agricultural product a lot of people don't realize would grow well here is hops for making beer. In the 1800's, New York state produced over 90 percent of the hops for beer making, most of which came from the counties just south of the Mohawk River until a blight destroyed all the crops. The soil and climate is still here and ideal for growing this crop again and with modern technology we can avoid many of the problems encountered in the 1800s. Think of New York state as a beer producing center, eclipsing the other large growing area in the Pacific Northwest, I have no doubt that, with the right leadership and investments, we can compete with the Pacific growers. Other niche products like maple syrup and honey can be targeted for increased production and promotion.
I also believe that in order to promote and encourage people in going into agriculture all land that is zoned agriculture should be fully tax exempt. This would be another way to help farmers keep the family farm and grow their business. We need to do a better job in expanding, diversifying, promoting and helping our farmers flourish. We must do a better job in taking a more pro-active approach in making this vision become a reality. I know if I am elected the farming community will have a strong voice in Albany.
Please feel free to contact me at (315) 866-3474 or visit my webpage at www.ChilelliForAssembly-.com to see my platform for change.
The writer is a candidate for office in the state's 118th Assembly District.
Best interests in mind?
To the editor:
Two years ago, Mr. Gibson ran for Congress for the first time. Not having a record of his own, all he did was criticize his opponent. Well, now he has a record and I feel it's a record that needs to be examined.
In his two years in office, Mr. Gibson has voted for cuts or eliminate meals on wheels, cut or eliminate HEAP (the program that helps seniors pay for their fuel oil), end Social Security, a $716 billion cut in Medicare (which will run out of funds by 2016), turn any Medicare program into a voucher program to be run by insurance companies, and ending women's health centers. He did this when congress was trying to keep interest rates low for college loans. The Democrats wanted to pay for that by raising taxes on the rich, the Republicans wanted to cut funding for women's cancer screening clinics which Mr. Gibson voted for.
He also voted for allowing the rich to continue to pay less than the average American, allowing big corporations to deduct the cost of their private jets from their taxes leaving the taxpayers to pay their costs, keeping the tax breaks for big oil so they can continue to not pay any federal taxes, increasing the defense budget by 3 percent a year even if the Pentagon does not want it. (The U.S.'s defense budget is larger than the next 30 countries' defense budgets put together.) That includes China's and Russia's.
Eliminate Sesame Street and you have a pretty good picture of what Mr. Gibson is all about. Protecting the rich and big oil companies, while stepping all over the average American citizen. I guess that's why his political ads do not tout his accomplishments as a congressman. Do we really want a guy representing us that doesn't have our best interest in mind? I don't think so.
John H. Swartz,