New York's new 115th Assembly District includes Franklin and Clinton counties and the St. Lawrence County towns of Piercefield, Lawrence, Hopkinton and Brasher. About half of it is in the Adirondack Park. If you live there and you're a registered Republican, you need to vote in the primary election Thursday. It's a duty and a privilege.
We've covered and gotten to know the three candidates jockeying to carry the Republican banner into the Nov. 6 general election, and while we cannot narrow it down to one endorsement, we can offer some advice: Either Janet Duprey or David Kimmel would be a good choice, so choose whichever of them best matches your political and personal preferences. We recommend not voting for Karen Bisso.
Like many people in the North Country, we know Ms. Duprey very well. As the incumbent assemblywoman for the last six years, she has attended countless events we've covered, given dozens of interviews and made herself very accessible to the media and everyone else. We also know Kimmel pretty well from covering his 2010 run against Ms. Duprey (including a particularly hot battle of words with her in a debate we organized) and from interviewing him in this year's campaign.
As far as we can tell, both are smart, pragmatic, personable, brave, independent, respectful, moral and easy to work with. Either, we think, would represent the district well and could make positive contributions to our state as a whole.
Ms. Duprey's strongest points seem to be a big heart, a fierce devotion to serving constituents personally, a feistiness, a strong work ethic and a deep knowledge of every corner of the district - she's constantly showing up at events in our area.
Mr. Kimmel shines with his innovative ideas, his good humor and - now more than in 2010 - his diplomacy. He makes a convincing case that he wants not to overhaul this diverse state but to help govern it, that's he's eager to work out win-win solutions with other lawmakers. He's consciously taken some of the edge off his criticism, though it still can be quite stinging. It's in his nature to be direct, and that's a good thing.
Our beef with Ms. Duprey is that she is a double-dipper; she officially "retired" and collects a sizable pension even though she isn't retired in practice or in any other way that most of her constituents can understand. Yes, that's common among state workers eligible but not ready for retirement, but to us, it's wrong to milk the taxpayers that way.
Mr. Kimmel's biggest downside, in our view, is that he hasn't done much campaigning, at least not in our part of the district. If he won't work harder than this to get elected, it makes us wonder how hard he'd work in office.
If you're on the fence about how to cast your vote, you might be swayed by your personal politics - Mr. Kimmel is more conservative than Ms. Duprey.
As for Ms. Bisso, she'll be on the Nov. 6 ballot with the Conservative Party no matter how she does Thursday, but regardless of party, we think she is unqualified. We explained that in an Aug. 11 editorial, and since then she has done more of the inaccurate, irresponsible bomb throwing we had found unacceptable. For example, this past week she was insisting on a conspiracy theory that Democratic candidate Tim Carpenter is a plant who plans to pull out of the race to help Ms. Duprey win.
While such tactics on the campaign trail are bad enough, Ms. Bisso comes across as someone who, if elected, would rather do damage than solve problems. Tellingly, she is endorsed by Carl Paladino, who, when running for governor two years ago, used the analogy of a baseball bat to describe what he would do to the state Capitol.
He was not representative of New York, and Ms. Bisso is not representative of the North Country.
Either Ms. Duprey or Mr. Kimmel would represent the North Country well, we think.
As for Mr. Carpenter, he has waited to campaign in earnest until after the primary. We look forward to meeting him when he makes his way to our part of the district.