August 6, 2014
This fall, every seat in the New York legislature will be on the ballot. Here in the 52nd Senate District – which includes Broome, Tioga, Chenango and parts of Delaware counties – two people are trying to unseat Republican incumbent Senator Tom Libous.
Today, we’ll hear from Candor businessman Denver Jones. Jones has launched a primary challenge against Libous and some Broome County Republicans are challenging the legality of his petition signatures. I recently sat down with Jones who says he’s going to Albany for the third time tomorrow to defend the signatures.
Morning Edition : One of the concerns from the Broome County Republicans who are challenging you is that some of your signatures, they’re not registered Republicans or not even in this district. You said you still think you have enough?
Denver Jones : Oh yeah, we have plenty. The ones that were challenged, some of them, it is true, we were rushed for time. We did not have 400+ committeemen to go around and get signatures, so we had a week or whatever ahead of time to go through all of the petitions carefully. But at the same time, we did get more than enough signatures to get on the ballot and we expect to show that.
ME : Despite the federal indictment of Senator Libous, he is still the No. 2 Republican in the Senate and he’s been reelected 13 times. Why should Southern Tier voters elect you, a candidate with so much less political sway?
DJ : Well, as I go along throughout the district, what I find is they want a change. They want someone in there that is responding to the people, that’s not swayed so much by outside interest and I can do that. The other problem is corruption and so on in Albany. I think it takes an outsider to go in and say, “I will not go along with this.” It’s too easy for people that are in the know so to speak to just go along with what’s been happening. Somebody’s gotta stop it and I’m willing to take the chances.
ME : Senator Libous’ indictment is just one potential example of corruption in Albany. If you were elected, what would you do to combat corruption?
DJ : First thing I’d try to do is lower the income of all the representatives. We need to get citizen legislators in there. They’re not supposed to be there as a permanent job. We’re supposed to be having people that have common sense that work every day with people in their area. And send them to Albany, Washington, wherever. They’re there for a couple of weeks; take care of the problems with the government, anything that comes up and go home. Go home to their regular job, work with the people and be a part of the community not stay in Albany, Washington wherever they are and become elites. Corruption-wise, we have too many people in office that have been there too long. We don’t people there for decades and I don’t expect to be there for decades.
ME : One way that we’ve seen New york try to promote business is through cuts in taxes in income tax, property taxes, also START-UP NY. You’ve said you’re against such big tax cuts for businesses. What do you propose instead to boost business in New York?
DJ : I meant that we have tax cuts for everyone, not just individual, in the know type of businesses. Everyone should have a consistent and fair tax that they have to pay and then let everyone prosper and then employ their people with real wages, not minimum wages and so on. We need to immediately start on getting really good paying jobs going and that we do by dropping the income tax to everyone, dropping the absurd regulations we’ve got that force companies out of here.
ME : You’ve said that one of your goals is to repeal the controversial gun law, the SAFE Act, but considering that we have a Democratic governor, a Democratic Assembly and there’s barely a Republican majority with some breakaway Democrats, how likely do you think that is that you’ll be able to repeal the SAFE Act?
DJ : I think it’s very likely. The problem is we don’t have legislators working for us that give us more than lip service. There have been repeal bills in both committees in the Senate and the House since a couple a months after the Act was passed. They’ve gone no place. No one has tried to force them out of committee. All these people who said, “I didn’t read it. I didn’t mean it that way.” Bring it out of committee and say, “Vote on it.” Put your money where your mouth is so to speak. Did you mean to vote for it or not? If people don’t like it, they can get rid of them, whatever their position is.
ME : Where do you stand on fracking?
DJ : There’s no reason why, at this point, that I can see why we shouldn’t be fracking. The state has the information, has the data and everything else and won’t release it. Why is that? Release the information and we can make our own decision.