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Our 2020 presidential pick and other endorsements

The Millerton News Editorial

Let’s just lay it on the line: We are concerned, as Americans will be heading to the polls Nov. 3 to elect their next president, because they have to choose between two imperfect candidates, Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic former Vice President Joseph Biden. (More than 28 million have voted early, as of Tuesday, Oct. 20.) Neither man has shown himself as the complete leader America needs at this moment, a moment in time so critical to our country it’s impossible to overstate. 

As of Tuesday, Oct. 20, more than 225,269 Americans have died from COVID-19 and more than 8,459,967 Americans have been infected. Those are staggering statistics. Trump hasn’t shown the type of leadership with COVID-19 that our nation needs. Biden, at least, has a more aggressive virus plan, including rejoining the World Health Organization (WHO). He’s also acted prudently, compassionately and listens to science.

Trump had done well for our financial system — pre-pandemic. February 2020 marked an end to a peak in monthly economic activity of the longest recorded U.S. expansion, which began in June 2009 under President Obama. Now, of course, economies are failing; businesses are still shut down and millions of people remain unemployed. It’s the same all over the world. Both Biden and Trump will have a challenge after the election due to the economic fallout of the pandemic. 

This country is trying to reckon with its long history of social inequality. On May 25, George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, a Black man killed by a white then-police officer, fueling months of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests nationwide, calling for state and federal governments to defund the police. 

Trump called for law and order. We agreed that protesters cannot be allowed to cause major property damage, set fires, loot, riot and injure people, police included. We get that people are angry — we need social justice — but there are safe and peaceful ways to protest.  

That said, the president’s refusal to distance himself from white supremacists in the past, and again during his first debate with Biden, has been unacceptable. 

Biden has not called for defunding the police, a move we’re against, but rather for more extensive training and support from other agencies for police who must deal with many situations more related to mental health crises than criminal activity. 

The president and Senate are rushing Judge Amy Coney Barrett through the nomination process for the Supreme Court. Of course, it’s natural Trump would want a conservative who would not only support his victory, but also one who would support weakening or revoking Roe v. Wade — heaven forbid — crucial legislation that protects a woman’s right to choose.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), Obamacare, is slated to be heard in the Supreme Court, with options like pre-existing conditions at risk of disappearing if Trump has his way. It’s been four years since Trump took office, and still, the healthcare plan he swears he has designed has yet to see the light of day. Biden has tweaked the ACA, lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60 and revamping prescription drug prices. But those changes could cost more than $2 trillion. To pay for that, Biden plans to raise taxes on those making $400,000 or more annually. 

We know there is no “perfect” presidential candidate, regardless of whether one is a Republican or a Democrat. Trump is often hot-headed, juvenile, opaque, stubborn. Biden, on the other hand, seems a bit fuzzy at times, not quite as mentally acute as one would like his or her president to be. Yet his moral compass is clearly stronger than Trump’s, so important during today’s trying times. 

We need a president who acts appropriately. He must be able to lead strongly and react immediately in global and domestic emergencies. In the final analysis, Biden is our pick. He is a seasoned politician who will represent the U.S. professionally and diplomatically. While we’re not sure either candidate fits the bill 100%, the Biden-Harris ticket will get the job done and has earned our endorsement.

Federal, state and county

endorsements

In the race for the 19th Congressional District, incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado is seeking his second two-year term. He won in 2018 with the Blue Wave of Democrats who took the House that year with a progressive agenda. Since then he’s secured funding for local farmers, worked to improve broadband access, garnered resources for vulnerable Hudson Valley businesses and families during the pandemic and continues to fight for equal rights.

Delgado is being challenged by Millbrook attorney and Army Reserves JAG Corps veteran Kyle Van De Water. The Republican, who earned a Bronze Star in 2011 serving in Afghanistan, is a proven local leader who wants more funding for opioid treatment, to protect gun rights and secure the southern border. While we laud Van De Water’s intentions, and love the idea of a Millbrook resident in Washington, Delgado has done good work and clearly deserves a second term.

Democratic State Assemblymember Didi Barrett is seeking her sixth term representing the 106th District; she’s being challenged by Republican Dean Michael. Barrett has long fought for the region, protecting farmland and securing local resources (including a grant to buy a weed harvester for Rudd Pond in the town of North East) and mental health resources. Barrett works with issues affecting veterans, women, tourism and broadband access, among others. 

Michael is focused on making the state more affordable and competitive, on lowering taxes and stimulating businesses. We commend Michael, active in town politics, for making a foray into state politics, but Barrett has done such a superb job since 2012 that she has again earned our hearty endorsement. 

Also running for the New York State Assembly, in the 105th District, are Republican incumbent Kieran Michael Lalor and his Democratic challenger, Laurette Giardino.

Lalor is a veteran who served with the Marine Corps Reserve in Iraq after 9/11; upon his return he earned his law degree. He’s now seeking his fifth term. Lalor supports veterans’ issues, small businesses, tax relief and repealing bail reform. He also wants school resource officers stationed in school buildings to keep students safe.

Giardino has centered her campaign around increasing trade programs in high schools and colleges, universal healthcare, justice reform, alternative energy and police reform. Worthy issues, absolutely, but Lalor has proven his leadership and effectiveness in Albany and has earned our endorsement.

Republican State Senator Sue Serino, of District 41, is hoping for her sixth term. She is focused on rejecting new taxes and fees; advocating for crime victims, senior citizens and  veterans; and securing funding for education, workforce innovation, infrastructure and to combat Lyme disease.

Her Democratic opponent, Karen Smythe, wants to lower carbon emissions and protect the region’s drinking water, as well as strengthen our education system, address systemic racism, develop the workforce and reignite the economy. Worthy goals, and she’d likely do an excellent job. This one was a tough call, and while leaning toward Serino we would not be at all displeased to see Smythe head to Albany.

One final word: Whoever you decide on, please, just make sure you vote.

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