On Halloween, my opponent sent a mailer, paid for by the New York State Republican Committee, with numerous lies and smears and misleading statements about my record and actions in the legislature.
Normally I would not dignify such trash with a response, especially coming from someone who has not bothered to attend a single legislative meeting.
However, one claim in particular – that I should have ignored the concerns of a highly-respected veteran and that I am anti-veteran – is so disgusting I cannot let it go unanswered.
Nelson Eddy Rivera (USN, Retired) served our nation and county with honor and distinction. For 18 years he served as the Director of Veterans Services in Dutchess County until his retirement in early 2017. In all my discussions with leaders in our community and the county, I never heard a bad word about Mr. Rivera.
When Mr. Rivera contacted some of us in the legislature and strongly recommended AGAINST the appointment of the young veteran that had been put forward as his successor, I listened. He told us that he had expressed his concerns to the administration during the search process for his replacement and been ignored. He told us that other, far more qualified and experienced candidates were available yet this young man had been chosen for the top spot.
I urged my Republican colleagues to delay the vote so they could also hear from Mr. Rivera and so we could all have more time to consider the situation. They refused even a short delay to consider further what might be best for our veterans and forced an immediate vote, appointing him.
While I wish the new director nothing but success and will offer him nothing but support in his efforts to help our veterans, I stand by my decision to vote NO on his appointment given the circumstances.
And shame on my opponent to claim Mr. Rivera’s concerns should not have been heard and to suggest that anything other than the best interests of our county’s veterans was in my heart. I would suggest that those who refused to hear out Mr. Rivera are the ones who should be asked these questions.