Donnery and Neuhaus spar over KJ support

Posted on 30 August 2013 by Community Voice NY

Donnery’s supporters create new Had Enough Party

Published Aug 22, 2013 at 1:01 pm (Updated Aug 22, 2013)

GOSHEN — The two candidates for county executive emphatically renounced the Village of Kiryas Joel and its famous block vote.

Legislator and County Executive Candidate Roxanne Donnery, a Democrat, held a press conference this week in front of the Orange County Board of Elections in Goshen to announce the creation of the new Had Enough Party. She and her supporters collected more than 2,500 signatures to create the new ballot line this November. She said she took this action because Kiryas Joel supporters of her Republican opponent, Steve Neuhaus, are forcing a primary in the Working Families Party, which has endorsed Donnery.

“Today is a great day for the people of Orange County,” Donnery said. “Just when Kiryas Joel supporters of Stephen Neuhaus thought they could blindside our campaign by trying to hijack one of our ballot lines, people everywhere said, ‘Not so fast.’”

Neuhaus denied having anything to do with KJ or the Working Parties primary. “We have had no interaction at all,” he said of KJ.

He said candidates of all stripes no longer rely on the KJ block vote anyway because there’s no guarantee it will come through for them. “Ask any politician,” he said.

“She’s beating me up about KJ and the county executive,” he said, referring to Donnery’s attempt to align him with the polarizing Edward Diana, the Republican incumbent, who is not running for re-election. He said the Had Enough petitions “smack of desperation.” He said he is the first GOP candidate for county executive to refuse petition signatures from KJ, and that he was one of the only Republicans to challenge Diana.

“Taxpayers have ‘had enough’ of the partisan bickering so commonplace in the Orange County Legislature, which my opponent has been a part of,” Neuhaus said. “We need a county executive who knows how to work with the private sector to create jobs, cut spending, and keep taxes down, and on that, I’ll be proud to match my record to hers any day of the week. An effective record, not more professional complaining by a 16-year legislator, is what voters need and are entitled to.”

A petition of 1,500 signatures is needed to create an independent party like Had Enough. Donnery attributed the success of her signature drive to Kiryas Joel’s attempt to “underhandedly primary her Working Families Party spot on the ballot.”

“Stephen Neuhaus may have KJ’s bloc vote,” she stated, “but I have the support of people across this county who believe in fairness for all — not special treatment for one.”

Blooming Grove Supervisor Frank Fornario, a Republican, has endorsed Donnery and appeared with her at the press conference.

“This isn’t about blindly following party lines,” he said. “This election is about choosing who is best qualified to get us back on the right track. Roxanne Donnery and I may be in different parties, but she is the obvious choice for County Executive.”

Donnery will appear on the Democratic and Had Enough Party lines on November’s ballot. She will also compete in a primary for the Working Families Party on Sept. 10.

She is a longtime critic of Kiryas Joel and, in particular, its water pipeline project.

“When I become county executive, there will no longer be a back door for Kiryas Joel to come through,” she said. “KJ will join everyone else in using my office’s front door. Kiryas Joel will get absolutely no special treatment from me or my administration, a fact that they are clearly terrified of.”

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