DiNapoli offers Wyoming County Democrats praise, energy and an early endorsement

Jim Krencik

Batavia Daily News

Sep 10, 2017

Rousing Democrats in a county that gave President Trump 70 percent of its vote, state leaders appealed to messages the party has faced since November during a fundraiser for the Wyoming County Democrats Saturday.

“Our values are the right values, but what we have to do is a better job of reaching out,” State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said near the apex of his keynote address at the East Hill Creamery. “My fear is that we spend a lot of time talking to ourselves, and when we talk to ourselves we tend to be in wonderful agreements.”

“I know in Wyoming County you have to reach out to Republicans and Independents, and that’s a good thing.”

DiNapoli, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Basil Smikle, Jr., the executive director the state’s Democratic Party, spent their nights in Wyoming County with encouragements to the full body and in one-on-one talks meant to build energy ahead of the 2017 and 2018 elections.

Democratic party officials fanned out across the GLOW Region over the weekend, gathering for picnic and dinner fundraisers in Perry, Batavia and Mt. Morris. DiNapoli hoped they left with a plan to overcome registration deficits in rural areas.

“I guarantee if you re-engage the conversation with your Republican and Independent family, friends and neighbors, and talk about the issues ...,” of attempts to alter healthcare, tax and funding levels detrimental to them, DiNapoli said, “that’s not what they voted for. You need to be ambassadors, and not be afraid to say what you are, what you stand for, and what it means. And I guarantee you, that’s how we bring more people to our side.”

And in a moment that surprised Suzanne Coogan, DiNapoli said it started with her.

“You have a great opportunity this year, to elect (Coogan) as town supervisor in Warsaw, let’s do that,” DiNapoli said. As the meeting broke up, Coogan noted that her campaign hasn’t even launched yet.

“We haven’t even had our caucus yet, I’m not even named, except for DiNapoli, Tom DiNapoli naming me — that doesn’t count with the board of election,” Coogan said, laughing. “It’s rather auspicious ... he is very energizing, to have the comptroller of the state of New York, it’s nice, but a bit embarrassing.”

Despite a surge of candidates for the upcoming elections — Smikle said Democrats running for Congress are doing so in higher numbers that the last three mid-terms combined — locally races remain sparsely contested by outnumbered Democrats. Coogan said she wanted to run because it’s a job she feels she can do, and it’s one that’s worth doing.

“We haven’t had a Democrat for many, many years, and there’s no Democrats on the board of supervisors,” Coogan said. “It’s time there should be at least one. There’s no reason the entire county of Wyoming is run by Republicans alone.”

With praise from Hochul and reminders of their party’s platform, Wyoming County Democratic Chairwoman Cynthia Appleton said it will be local decisions that matter. It’s about sharing how much you can effect at a village, town or county level.

“It’s really the local races that mean the most to us,” Appleton said. “We’ve been really fortunate that our state representation has been very responsive to us as local Democrats ... it engages people, it increases the excitement and awareness of what is going on. It’s having an neighbor running for office and getting behind them, and being excited about the election.”