Assembly District contenders discuss troubles

Patrick Vincent

JOHNSTOWN — Republican contenders for the 118th Assembly District agreed that the state is in serious trouble—population decline, high taxes, businesses leaving, and too much regulation, as they addressed the 50-Plus Club at the Shirley Luck Senior Center Thursday,

Candidate Robert Smullen spoke first, touting his leadership experience as a Marine Corps officer and former executive director of Hudson River-Black River Regulating District.

He said the state should run “more efficiently” to reduce the tax burden, but gave no specifics when asked.

Smullen admitted the Democrats control the Assembly but promised he would be a voice of reason. “Republicans win all the arguments, but lose the votes,” he said.

Asked about the most challenging experience he has faced, he said it was bringing the body of a fallen comrade to his family. Smullen left immediately after his presentation.

Smullen will face businessman Patrick Vincent in a primary on Tuesday for the seat vacated by retiring Marc Butler.

Vincent, a retired correctional officer and owner of Vincent’s Heating and Fuel Service in Poland, called for term limits and the end of career politicians, “who have lost their way,” giving the public “little or no say.” Term limits of eight to 10 years could bring in “fresh faces and new ideas,” he said.

Vincent, a Navy veteran, called for the end to what he called the state’s “bloated bureaucracy” that will continue “as long as we have Democrat control in Albany.” Individuals and businesses are “tired of being the state’s ATM,” he said.

He said Fulton County would blossom if it had easy access to the Thruway. He also complained about no cellphone coverage in the Pine Lake area, making it harder for first responders to help people in need.

Vincent said the area faces a shortage of truck drivers, carpenters and mechanics and other hands-on people. He said people who receive vocational education deserve the same appreciation as people who attend college for two years.

Asked about his most challenging experience, he said mortgaging his house to buy his first fuel truck for his brand new business with zero customers. He and his wife took the chance even though the bank cautioned them “if you fail, you’ll lose everything.”

“I’m an all-in type of guy.”

Both Smullen and Vincent oppose the state’s control SAFE Act, and Vincent said he is also pro-life.

By Josh Bovee

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