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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September 29th, 2011

Legislature Candidates Begin to Discuss Issues

In just a few short weeks we will be electing a new legislature that will be making decisions affecting our lives for the next four years.

The Senior Legislative Action Committee (SLAC) got the campaign season going when they hosted a forum last Friday.

Priscilla Bassett, who heads SLAC, told me the group’s objective is to aid seniors in taking action to protect their needs and services. “We oppose cuts in services and advocate increased revenue sources.”

It was exciting to finally get the opportunity to see and listen to those who want to run our county government. Many spoke about prolific change while others spoke from the heart. I was pretty impressed.

The group played up to the audience and rightfully concentrated on keeping the Adult Care Center a viable entity.

Kathy Labuda, the most outspoken legislator and advocate for our seniors said “it’s not always about money, but about love too.” She spoke on the need to find specialized profitable niches to make the adult facility solvent.

Some incumbents diverted from discussing issues, while first time runners appeared to be extremely knowledgeable.

Jonathan Rouis’ honesty, knowledge, and passion to lead our county were prominent throughout the forum.

Ira Steingart, Amanda Ward, and Jodi Goodman moved the crowd with their personal stories of care-giving.

Greg Semenetz said government has to make certain “seniors are taken care of.” He joined other candidates in calling for the need to update our adult facility.

Cindy Kurpil-Gieger was probably the most prepared, outspoken, and on the ball when she addressed various issues including state mandates, tax exempt properties, and protecting programs such as home health care.

Cora Edwards focused on legislation to end state mandates. As for the county’s responsibility she asked, “Do we believe in the role of good public health care?”

Scott Samuelson touched on tough decisions the new legislature will be confronting.

During the question and answer session, I brought up the budget and that releasing it after the election was wrong. Alan Sorenson said his effort to make it public prior to November 8th was falling on deaf ears.

Rick Lander agreed the budget should be disclosed and become an issue. He also called for a five year plan.

Edwards said she could not understand why the budget was not continually updated on the Internet and questioned what prevented full disclosure. “The budget is just a picture, and it keeps changing.”

Leni Binder pointed to the global economy and unfunded mandates as being the catalyst for our economic woes. She boasted and claimed when she chaired the legislature, and Dan Briggs was County Manager, we had a $23 million surplus. Because of tax caps, Binder said it was inevitable there would be layoffs to balance the budget.

Elwin Wood said projects such as the Apollo Mall will stimulate our economy and create jobs.

On ethics reform, all backed full disclosure. Goodman said the county should use the same strict disclosure measures as her employer CRMC.

After the meeting, Semenetz and Lander pointed out their successful records in balancing budgets. Lander said he would stop the waste in government.

The campaign finally begins.

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