Conservative Assembly candidate prepares for town hall tour, Republican nominee agrees to debate
Story edited at 4:16 p.m. to better represent statements made by the candidates.
BY JIMMY LAWTON
North Country This Week
Conservative Candidate for the 116th NYS Assembly District Susan Duffy will be touring the North Country in coming weeks as she faces off against Republican Candidate Scott Gray.
Duffy lost the Republican nomination by fewer than 400 votes and says she’s staying in the race to give people a choice.“I want to engage the voters. I want to make sure they have a choice. I think it’s very important, especially when there is no Democratic candidate in the race,” she said.
Duffy said that if she doesn’t run, a small portion voters would be deciding the election as there would be no choice between candidates in November.
She said there are more than 28,000 active Republican voters in the 116th Assembly District, more than 1,000 Conservatives, more than 24,000 Democrats and an additional 22,000 listed as other or blank.
She said that by staying in the vote, whether she wins or not, people will have the opportunity to choose.
Duffy and Gray have agreed to a debate, sponsored by WWNY, according to both candidates, but details on the event are still being panned out.
As Duffy prepares for nine town hall style meetings where she plans to answer a variety of questions for those who attend, she’s offered Gray the opportunity to join her.
Duffy has been critical of Gray claiming he has refused to come out and speak with people about real issues during his campaign.
“I think my opponent is hiding from questions and I’m inviting them,” she said.
But Gray says that’s not the case. Gray said he’s been busy all summer knocking on doors, attending events and meeting with the public.
He countered that his opponent appears to only recently have started getting serious but Duffy maintains that she has been knocking on doors for months.
Gray said he won’t be attending the meetings, despite Duffy’s invitation, but says he’ll continue to run a clean campaign and focus on real issues.
Gray says he’s pragmatic and wants to be realistic about what he can accomplish if elected.
“I’m practical, I’m very pragmatic. There are two parts to this job, there is the Albany part where I’ll represent you and I’ll be your voice, and do my best to influence legislation, but I’m also there to build relationships,” he said.
Adding that he wants to focus on things that are important to the area whether it be helping with a boat launch in Black Lake, or a Walking Bridge in Morristown, or vacant state owned properties in Ogdensburg.
Duffy, though says a vote for her is a vote for someone who won’t simply tow the party lines, but rather fight for her constituents. She said as a business owner, mother and grandmother she brings a unique perspective to the table.
“The Republican establishment picked their candidate, but I don’t think it’s the Republican establishment that should decide the election for everyone,” she said.
Duffy says she’s looking forward to engaging with constituents in coming weeks.
“I think it all comes down to who can sell a bill on the floor. My abilities as a salesperson and experience selling my product,” she said. “I think I’m the better person for the job.”
She said the town hall process is a chance for the public to interview their employees who will be representing them at the state level and it’s important for them to have the opportunity to conduct those interviews. She says that’s what these meetings will allow people to do.
A list of town hall meetings planned by Duffy’s campaign follows.
Thurs. September 1
Massena Community Center, 61 Beach Street, Massena, 7-8pm
Tues. September 6
Morley Bingo Hall, 7220 County Road 27, Canton, 7-8pm
Thurs. September 8
Potsdam Village Community Room, 3rd Floor, Park Street, Potsdam, 7-8pm
Tues. September 13
Riley Community Room, 90 Lincoln Street, Canton, 7-8pm
Thurs. September 15
Waddington Hepburn Library, 30 Main Street, Waddington, 7-8pm
Tues. Sept 20
Hepburn Library of Lisbon, 6899 County Road 10, Lisbon, 7-8pm
Thurs. September 22
Dobisky Center, 100 Riverside Avenue, Ogdensburg
Tues. September 27
Hammond Village Hall, 24 S Main Street, Hammond, 7-8pm
Thurs. September 29
Alexandria Bay, Municipal Complex, 110 Walton Street, Alexandria Bay