JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton County Republican Club held its 60th Diamond Jubilee Lincoln Day Dinner on Monday at the Holiday Inn where guests celebrated the end of Pres. Donald Trump’s Impeachment trial that resulted in him being acquitted of both articles.
This year’s dinner featured several speakers, including Former Assemblyman Marc Butler, Assemblyman Robert Smullen, Sen. Jim Tedisco, special guest speaker Dutchess County Sheriff Adrian “Butch” Anderson and keynote speaker Chair of the New York state Republican Committee Nick Langworthy who each spoke about issues with the state’s new bail reform.
“This is a wonderful, wonderful event with a great turnout and great people,” Butler said. “Fulton County is a republican county. You support your candidates and this is a vital year, and I’m absolutely certain you’re going to be there and that is all because of your chairman, Sue McNeil. She does a wonderful job, you all do a wonderful job.”
Smullen said he is proud to represent Fulton County in the New York state Assembly. He mentioned that he announced at Second Wind Coffee in Johnstown last week that he is running for re-election.
“I’m so grateful to all of you for giving me my second wind in life,” Smullen said “I had a great career in the Marines, but being a public servant nowadays is just the dream come true.”
Smullen spoke briefly on the Criminal Justice Reforms saying they will “reform the reforms.”
He also spoke on another issue that has been discussed throughout Fulton County: Second Amendment rights. Smullen said the SAFE Act should only apply to the counties in New York City.
“That’s the way it should be. That would take away all of these issues, and let people govern themselves,” Smullen said. “There’s all sorts of bills that appropriate our culture, and want to change our culture, I think that’s fundamentally wrong.”
Tedisco said the recently implemented bail reform is a serious situation, along with the discovery reform, which he said is just as bad, or worse, than the bail reform.
The discovery reform requires the district attorney hand over all evidence within 15 days to the defense. This means anyone on trial can find out who the witnesses are, and their home addresses. At times, witnesses can include first responders.
“They have to have their names and their addresses released in 15 days to individuals who are murders, pedophile, rapist,” Tedisco said. “It’s not only going to affect them dangerously, it’s going to affect the people who didn’t sign up to have danger to be involved in, their families because now their families can be threatened as well as they can be threatened.”
Tedisco said he and Smullen are sponsoring a bill that exempts first responders from the 15-day period.
Fulton County is the first county in the state to advocate for the Privacy First Responders Bill.
“With bail reform, ladies and gentlemen, you have no idea what you’re getting into, what we’re getting into. It’s a terrible thing,” Anderson said. “What it is, is victims don’t have any rights. And it’s not right.”
He said when the bill was passed there were no sheriffs, law enforcement, district attorneys or judges on the board.
“We have a life, and we have to protect our families — and the victims have not been thought of,” Anderson said. “The men and women I work with are second to none. I tell them as soon as they hit the academy, I don’t care how many tickets you write, I don’t care how many arrests you make, I care about how many people you help every single day.”
“We’re short a handcuff and it’s not good,” he added.
Langworthy said putting criminals ahead of taxpayers is a “shame” and needs to come to a stop and will come to a stop this year.
He said he made a promise to Trump that “we’re going to fight every single day to make sure he can be proud of the Republican party in his home state of New York.”
Langworthy wished everyone who is seeking reelection good luck. He said Fulton County has representatives such as Elise Stefanik, Tedisco and Smullen who they can be proud of.
“It is great to be a Republican under a president like Donald J. Trump,” Langworthy said.
He said this year is the most important election year of “our lives.”