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Stratton launches gubernatorial bid
October 9, 2012 - Chris Morris
Voters have a lot on their plate this election season, and it's likely that you're not ready to think about the 2014 gubernatorial race in New York state.
Richard Stratton, however, is thinking about it. And he's taken the first step toward running for the seat currently held by Democrat Andrew Cuomo.
In an interview Monday morning, Stratton, a Republican, told me he has filed paperwork with the state Board of Elections, informing the agency that he "plans to mount a campaign and run." In January, Stratton will have to file a financial statement as well as additional paperwork.
"This is like the preliminary sticking your toe in the water," he said.
A few minutes ago, he issued this statement regarding his interest in the governor's seat:
"Today, I’ve taken the first step towards a possible run for Governor. While I realize that I’m not exactly a household name with many New Yorkers, and my resume is by no means typical of our state’s previous Governors, I’m confident that my message will resonate with New Yorkers across the political spectrum who care about our state’s future and are looking for out-of-the-box solutions for the various problems facing New Yorkers. We simply can’t afford to continue to spend millions to incarcerate the 13,000 non-violent drug offenders that are currently jailed in this state. I am committed to being the voice for New Yorkers who are interested in drug reform, marijuana law reform and, most importantly, those who are sick of paying for the incompetence and corruption of New York State politicos. I’m fed up with paying for the pensions of State Senators who get sent to jail for corruption, and I am appalled at having to pay to imprison someone who was carrying marijuana. This madness needs to end. When I’m Governor of New York, we will bring the insanity of our present war on our own people to an end."
The Enterprise will run a full profile on Stratton on Wednesday. When Stratton says he not a typical gubarnatorial candidate, he's not kidding. He's an award-winning screenwriter, the author of two books - Altered States of America and Smack Goddess - and a former hash and marijuana smuggler. So yeah, he's not your average Republican candidate for New York state's highest office.
He also has ties to the North Country: He served part of his sentence for marijuana smuggling at the Federal Correctional Institution in Ray Brook, and later penned a story about his experiences in prison for Adirondack Life magazine.
In my interview with Stratton, he conceded that he has some work to do when it comes to winning over traditional Republican voters, although he repeatedly stressed that he shares the common Republican view that government is too big and too expensive.
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