Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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October 2nd, 2009

Political chairs influence our future

Sullivan County’s two major political parties have been busy during the past week reorganizing their leadership positions as the election season gets underway.

The Democratic County Committee officially voted Steve Wilkinson in as its chairman, while Republicans named former Assemblyman Richard Coombe as their new leader.

Although Wilkinson has been in the position since replacing Jim Grier last year, this marks his first official full term of office.

When former County Chairman Tim Hill passed away I wrote Wilkinson would be the wise choice to lead the Democratic Party and I was right. He has proven to have the unique ability to bring diverse segments of the Democratic Party together, and has done a remarkable job in making dramatic change in only a few short months.

The backroom political wheeling and dealing days where only a select few ruled finally are a thing of the past.

Many old school Democratic Committee members with self centered motives are also gone. New committee members are more focused on Sullivan County issues and electing candidates who are proactive.

Wilkinson’s talent to grasp the issues and get things done was evident last week at the State Judicial Convention. Although County Treasurer Ira Cohen was unsuccessful in his bid to receive a Supreme Court nomination, Sullivan County will get a judgeship when the next slot opens up in 2011, leaving room for highly qualified legal aid head Steven Schick to be nominated.

Wilkinson also scored a major feat getting New York State Attorney General and potential governor candidate Andrew Cuomo to speak at the upcoming Jeffersonian placing us front and center on the political map.

On the Republican side, it became more and more evident John LiGreci could no longer lead. Many party loyalists felt he was an invisible chairman. Even though Republican candidates were successful in winning countywide and local elections, they received little support and guidance from LiGreci.

Former New York State Assemblyman and Neversink resident Richard Coombe will be a far different leader. He like Wilkinson has the leadership skills to move the County Republican Party in a new direction.

More importantly, both Coombe and Wilkinson are the type of people who I am certain will work together for the best interests of Sullivan County

Legislator Leni Binder labeled Coombe an “excellent choice” to lead and reunite Republicans. She said, “His vast experience and connections can take us to the next level of leadership.”

The two other influential political parties are the Conservative and Independence. Both of their chairs are also committed to electing candidates who can improve our quality of life. They have demonstrated their willingness to work with and endorse both Democrats and Republicans.

In fact, this year the Conservative and Independence Parties both endorsed the same candidates in the countywide elections.

The Conservative Party led by Robert Hoose told me they strive to endorse the best qualified candidates even if their political ideology differs from the state platform.

Hoose said, “Our primary concern is Sullivan County. We endorse those whom we believe can do the best job running our government. This year we endorsed Republicans Jim Farrell for District Attorney and Mike Schiff for Sheriff, along with Democrat Ira Cohen for Treasurer, because we are convinced they can do the best job for Sullivan County, not because they come from a certain political affiliation. The same goes for our endorsements in Town elections.”

The Independence Party uses a clever play on words leading people to believe they are true independents which they are not. They have a state platform that would surprise many of its supporters.

However on the local level, like the Conservatives, they look above and beyond party platform when endorsing candidates. Independence Party Chairperson Tammi Chaboty has the knack and gift to lead and do what is in our interests. Although she is the wife of Under Sheriff Eric Chaboty, who works as second in command under Schiff, she is truly an independent thinker who will never allow her personal life persuade or influence her decision making.

Wilkinson, Coombe, Hoose, and Chaboty are the political powerhouses who will sway Sullivan County politics for the years to come. It will be their job to nurture the right candidates for political office, and make certain those who win elections work together for the betterment of Sullivan County.

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