GOP eyes future of the party

JOHNSTOWN – The future, especially the elections set for November, was the key topic at the Fulton County Republican Club’s Lincoln Day dinner Monday at the Johnstown Moose Family Center.

Filling the center Monday, members of the Republican Party discussed the upcoming challenges facing the party and its candidates.

Susan McNeil, chairwoman of the Fulton County Republican Committee, shared a story about how she had to take a road trip for a meeting. As she drove down a hill, she said, she saw multiple signs warning her of a curve ahead.

“I thought to myself, if I went off the road after all of these signs warning me of what is ahead, it would be my own fault,” McNeil said. “With good leadership, you are given the tools and the signs and the direction of where to go with our party. Getting to this past November election was a tough road and now that the election is over, we have clear Republican winners and we will move forward with these men and women to improve our cities and towns.”

McNeil said local representatives are resisting policies pushed forward by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“We must continue to fight against the direction of Cuomo and where he is taking our state, as he takes away from where our state was formerly known as the robust Empire State,” McNeil said.

Elise Stefanik – who is seeking election in New York’s 21st Congressional District, which includes Fulton and Hamilton counties – said Washington needed new ideas.

Stefanik said the party’s goal should be to encourage the growth of small businesses. She would focus on creating jobs in upstate New York through fixing the tax code.

“The tax code is over 85,000 pages long, it is Washington gone wild,” Stefanik said.

Edward F. Cox, chairman of the New York State Republican Committee, spoke about how successful the 2013 election was for the party.

“There is a wave building up here, and it will just grow through 2014 until it hits the Democrats in 2015, and it is going to hit them very hard,” Cox said.

Cox said previous leaders, such as former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and former President Lyndon Johnson, were smart enough to have bipartisan support when they passed laws creating programs such as Medicaid and Social Security.

However, Cox said, President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act had bipartisan condemnation.

“Thirty-four Democrats voted against it,” Cox said.

Cox stressed the party’s need to keep fighting Cuomo and Obama to win back dominance in elected offices.

The keynote speaker, Assemblyman Kiernan Lalor, of Fishkill,?Dutchess?County, said he felt members of the Assembly should continue to fight both the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act and other concerns for conservative New Yorkers.

Lalor said one of the primary goals as a party, aside from fighting the SAFE Act, should be to reform business laws to encourage development in the state.

“You don’t need a Ph.D. to know if your policies are hostile to job creators, you won’t create many jobs,” Lalor said.

During the event, Bruce Ellsworth of Northville was given the Charles Hough Memorial Award Monday, in honor of his work as Fulton County treasurer and deputy treasurer.

Ellsworth said he was honored to be recognized by the party for his work.