Thursday, September 21, 2017

Paul Miscione, you deserve a round of applause

On primary day (last Sept. 12) two certainties were established: One, Mrs. Pratt was going to be the 16th-District County Legislator in 2018 and that current 2nd Ward New Hartford Councilman Paul Miscione is going to the the Town Supervisor in 2018. The third contest (First Ward Council) will be decided on November 7.

Let's talk about Paul: First elected in 2012, he campaigned hard against the incumbent and beat her. That's unusual in itself. I had the pleasure of sitting with him the last 2 years of my term. Sometimes we disagreed, sometimes we disagreed vigorously but out friendship persevered. I considered him somebody easy to work with because we agreed most of the time.

As I sized up my race and decided to run for the county legislature, a well-placed town Republican called me practically begging me to run for Supervisor. We discussed Paul but he had not made a firm commitment as yet; I said let's wait and see.We ended the conversation with me saying I would get back to them. I did, and defined the parameters that would have to be met for me to consider doing so. Remember, I ran for Supervisor 4 years ago and lost. I did well outside the village but lost too much in the village.

What I asked for was not on the ala-carte menu, so when I called him back we agreed I was out.

Luckily for New Hartford, Paul Miscione stepped up to the plate and threw his hat into the ring.

If you don't know how local political committees determine who they like (via the endorsement process), they meet and screen potential candidates expressing interest in carrying their party banner on election day.

Paul couldn't be there that day. He was with a family member in New York City attending to their medical care. But Mr. Tyksinski screened, answered questions and most everybody in the room knew he had the endorsement in the bag. When he was done, the chairperson asked if their were any more nominations.

After an uncomfortable pause (I was wondering if anybody else was going to stand up), I stood up and nominated Paul Miscione. A long-time friend of mine seconded the nomination and discussion ensued. It didn't matter; after the vote Mr. Tyksinski walked out the building with the endorsement.

I could talk about how the vote went down, but I won't. That's a breach of trust.

When I talked to Paul, he was disappointed. But he took it well and went on. He persevered. He campaigned. He advertised. He went door to door and (with my constant nagging him to do so) spent a considerable amount of time in the village. Remember, this was where I took a beating 4 years ago.

We sat down a few times before the election to measure progress. It was clear his message was hitting home. Still, nobody knew if he was going to win or lose. It's just an unknown and as the saying goes, the voters can be fickle. You never know.

More and more signs on both sides went up. When a 4x8 billboard sign went up for Mr. Tyksinski immediately adjacent to a property I own on Oneida Street (a well-traveled road), I asked the usually-friendly neighbor to remove it. He wouldn't, so I did the next best thing: I called Paul Miscione and invited him to place a 4x8 sign on my side placed so as to block Mr. Tyksinski's sign. We met there with another town councilman and put the sign up together. I could tell he was getting tired putting up signs and campaigning; when I said this one was worth it, he laughed. To me, it was worth it.

There was a reason Mr. Tyksinski wanted his sign there and it was because I had so many times put my own signs there. He was hoping people would think I'm supporting him by seeing his sign in my usual spot. The codes officer was even fooled and called Paul saying Did you see the sign Backman put for Tyksinski?

To put that false message to bed, the sign had to go up. Watching New Hartford slide over the 2 terms of Mr. Tyksinski's leadership, I knew I had to make a statement. Thank you, Paul for having one sign left and placing it there.

Looks like it worked wonders.

Ok, signs don't vote, people do.... but that one was worth it. On primary day, you beat Mr. Tyksinki by a good margin and you earned it.

Here's my hearty applause for a job well done, Paul. My heartiest congratulations. I was proud to place your name in nomination even though I knew it would take a primary vote to oust the incumbent.

By the way, you did something in New Hartford politics that has never been done before: You won the Supervisor's chair as a Councilman. Before this, not one Councilman has risen to the seat, even though many have tried.

Thank you for running. Thank you for working for it. And most of all, thank you for winning.


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