July 23, 2017 • Utica Observer-Dispatch

OUR VIEW: Keep personal attacks out of political campaign

Usually it takes months of campaigning before political candidates get down and dirty — if they do at all. But with 16 months left before the 2018 election, incumbent Republican Congresswoman Claudia Tenney from New Hartford already is clawing at the bottom of the barrel with disparaging remarks about her Democrat opponent Anthony Brindisi.

It’s disgusting, not to mention highly insulting.

People of the 22nd Congressional District deserve better — and they should demand it.

In an effort to discredit Brindisi, Tenney recently tried to show a contrast between her father, the late state Supreme Court Justice John R. Tenney, and Brindisi’s father Louis, who she reportedly described in an interview with USA TODAY as “very heavily involved with the organized crime in Utica for many years, representing them.”

″(My father) fought for law and order and Anthony’s father represented some of the worst criminals in our community,” the newspaper quoted Tenney as saying. “You have to question ... some of the things that have happened in his family. The voters make that decision. I’m not saying Anthony is part of any of that, but that’s the family you come from.”

There are so many things wrong with this that it’s tough to know where to begin.

First, this campaign isn’t about John Tenney and Louis Brindisi. They are not seeking election.

Second, Louis Brindisi is an attorney who years ago defended individuals linked to organized crime. That’s no big secret. He stopped handling criminal cases in 1983 after his legal associate, Joseph Dacquino, was shot and killed inside his law office. That’s no secret, either. It’s a matter of public record.

The fact is that Louis Brindisi is an attorney. Attorneys represent people charged with crimes. John Adams was an attorney. He defended British soldiers accused of killing five American colonists in the March 5, 1770, Boston Massacre because no one else would take the case and Adams believed that they deserved a fair trial. Adams later became our second president.

As for Tenney’s nasty comment, “the family you come from,” it’s just plain inappropriate, especially coming from an elected official.

Let’s be clear here. Anthony Brindisi has his political leaning, to be sure. He’s a registered Democrat, but most would consider him a moderate. He’s shown a ready willingness to work across the aisle in Albany, particularly with his Republican colleague, state Sen. Joseph Griffo, a Republican from Rome, in a united effort to improve the Mohawk Valley region. And they have. You can like Brindisi’s politics or not. It’s the way democracy works.

On the personal side, Anthony Brindisi is a most honorable man. In addition to being a fair, honest, sincere, straight-shooting representative of the people of this region and state, he’s a good husband and father.

In fact, it was his determination to help secure what is best for his children and others in this community that motivated him to serve on the Utica school board. He did so admirably for two years before being chosen by special election in 2011 to fill the Assembly seat vacated by RoAnn Destito after she was appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to become commissioner of the state Office of General Services. His district covers Utica, Rome, Floyd, Marcy and Whitestown.

It’s interesting that the campaign for the 22nd Congressional District seat has begun so soon. That can be good for constituents if the candidates stick to issues — and there are plenty of issues to talk about.

Whose father can beat up whose isn’t one of them.


Read the full piece here

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