August 17, 2011 —
About 30 candidates and their supporters turned out to the government center on August 16 to announce a new line that will appear on the ballot this fall—the Rural Heritage line.
The party has endorsed candidates in the towns of Fremont, Delaware, Callicoon, Cochecton and Tusten and they are running for the positions of supervisor, councilperson and highway superintendent. At the county level, there is one candidate, Cindy Geiger, who is running for the county legislator seat in District Five.
Geiger, like several of the other candidates, is also running on the Democratic line. There are two Rural Heritage candidates who are also running on the Republican line.
Several of the candidates said that the emphasis on economic development in Sullivan County, and especially in the western part of the county, should be to build on the strongest industries that already exist—agriculture, tourism and healthcare. A couple of candidates repeated the line that too often county leaders had waited for outsiders to come in and create economic development here, when it should be a home-grown effort.
A fact sheet handed out said, “The Rural Heritage Party believes politics at the local level should be nonpartisan. It will endorse candidates with a shared vision of Sullivan County as a place that can flourish if it builds on abundant resources and develops the kinds of business and jobs that are consistent with the three main economic engines: agriculture, healthcare and tourism.”
Asked whether the group was opposed to gas drilling, Steve Lundgren said there are 12 different candidates on the line, and each will address gas drilling in their campaigns, but on this day they wanted to focus on what they support; Geiger concurred.
Greg Semenetz, the former supervisor of the Town of Callicoon who is running against Geiger, watched the news conference with Rodney Gaebel, the Republican commissioner of the Sullivan County Board of Elections. Asked for a reaction, Semenetz said candidates in this county like to run on as many lines as possible and that is their right. He added, however, that he thought the candidates weren’t being as forthcoming as they might be regarding their views about gas drilling.