Primary power

| 24 Aug 2022 | 10:32

Primaries for Congress are set for this coming Tuesday. Turnout is expected to be very light. But much is at stake, and I urge all those registered to vote in the Democratic Primary to do so. There is no Republican Party primary.

During the last eight years, we have been represented in Congress by Sean Patrick Maloney who resides in Cold Spring. He has now been divested of the Orange County segment of “‘his” district and we are part of the newly created 18th Congressional district, with large parts of Dutchess and Ulster counties. So, who is running for Congress?Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan is the establishment’s candidate. A West Point graduate in his later thirties, Mr. Ryan has a murky background in the military industrial complex. He ran for Congress four years ago, losing to current Lt. Governor Delgado. Two years later, he was elected Ulster County Executive. He is now running for two congressional seats: first, he wishes to serve out the balance of Mr. Delgado’s term in the old 20th district [through this December] and he then wants to represent the new 18th district. He faces a formidable opponent in the first race in Dutchess County Executive Molinaro.

On the same day as this general election race to fill an open House seat, Mr. Ryan is also running in the 18th CD primary against two candidates. One, Aisha Mills, is an African American lesbian from Newburgh who has worked for twenty years developing housing and other public policy, running others’ political campaigns and appearing as a commentator on CNN. Ms. Mills resides in Newburgh with her partner and child and has raised a fraction of the money her principal primary opponent, Mr. Ryan, has. She offers voters a great deal of Washington policy-making experience and has been deeply involved recently as Newburgh parents fight back against a school district which has richly awarded a disgraced, departing Superintendent of Schools with a huge going away package [reported at $600,000] while, too often, devaluing its students of color.

I urge all readers to pay attention to this race because the balance of Congress depends on swing districts like ours. Colin Schmitt awaits the winner of the Democratic primary; he is a Trump booster, who gave a pep rally to 2020 election deniers aboard a bus before it departed to Washington early on the morning of January 6. He strongly opposes a woman’s right to choose and would impose his religious beliefs upon others. He has done nothing notable in Albany except prepare for his next political race. So, it is important for Democrats to wisely choose his opponent, appealing to independent and moderate voters who will swing the newly created district.

As these races unfold rather invisibly in our midst, Persons Against Racism in Schools [PARIS] is reorganizing to assist students and parents confronting incidents of bigotry in areas schools. Inspired by the racism displayed toward a ninth-grade honor student in Minisink H.S. nearly four years ago, PARIS advocates the hiring of more people of color to teach in and administer our schools, clear and direct programs directed at combating racism which is alive and well in many local schools [as reported by students of color who attend them] and fostering a much more honest community-wide dialogue about racism and how to combat it.

It features a rapid response team which rallies to support any student victimized by such bias in the region’s schools. Anyone interested in PARIS may reach me at 845-294-3991. Our next meeting will be at SADIES, an exciting new bookstore which recently opened at 37 North Street the evening of August 31, 2022.

Michael Sussman