By Keith Shikowitz

The one thing that everyone on both sides of the political spectrum have agreed on is that this is a very important election year for the USA. Many have gone as far to say, the fate of the country rests in the hands of the voters and who they choose to go to the federal and their state capitals.

No where is this more evident to New Yorkers, than in our own Empire State. Last yar New York lost 70,000 people who moved to other states. Between some of the highest taxes in the nation being imposed on the people and with many controversial laws passed, among them are the late term abortion law, which many say is promoting infanticide, to the bail reform law which even some elected Democrats  have called a disaster, which lets the people accused of over 400 different crimes get out of custody with no bail allowed to be imposed. New York has seen a rise in repeat offenders. New York City has two people who have committed 258 crimes between them (139 for one and 119 for the other) and thanked the Democrats for passing this legislation.

The main message the Rockland County Republicans were putting forth, was unity against the “socialist, Marxist, Democrats who only want to take control of your entire life.” They were talking about at the state and federal level.

Lawrence Garvey called the meeting to order which began with the pledge of allegiance, the singing of the National Anthem and an invocation led by Clarkstown Town Supervisor George Hoemann. The recording secretary read the agenda for the meeting. Garvey introduced County Executive Ed Day to give opening remarks.

“Thank you Mr. Chairman,” Day began “This is an exciting night. Good evening everybody.” A rousing Good evening greeted him in return. You know, this may not be 1984 but here we are 36 years later, and we’ve gotten a frightening view of an Orwellian future. The people of our community are waking up and this is their opportunity to answer to their call for help. That cry is becoming louder and clearer with each passing day.”

Day explained is feelings as to why this is happening. He stated, “Because as the song goes, ‘The hits just keep on coming.’” He blamed the outright refusal by Albany to see and fix deficiencies in the state Medicaid program with benefits which go well beyond the federal guidelines, but often offers coverages that not even you and I can NOT even begin to afford with our own insurance.

“Many of your tax dollars going to provide free college education to people here in this country illegally. Yet not one penny to help you educate your kids or grandchildren. Not one penny of help for those who put their lives on the line for our country, our Veterans. Millions of dollars in mandates in the current state budget, well above what we already pay in mandates that if left unabated, would have in and of itself would have raised county property taxes by three percent!” He exclaimed.

One of the major controversial laws passed recently is the bail reform law. Day vehemently condemned this. “Millions of dollars for the criminal justice system. How much did the Democrats provide for the accused? All of it. every penny. How much did the convey for insuring services for the victims? None of it. Not one penny.”

Many states have become sanctuary states and New York is among them. Illegals are getting benefits that they should never be getting. Drivers’ licenses is one of them. “Licenses are being given out without complete and proper vetting of applicants. Have you tried to get into a DMV lately? How many of you have tried? Raise your hand. How long did you wait? A long time. A long time. Hours. All because of this ill – conceived notion that was not supported properly.”

“The sneak attacks on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and other American institutions on 9/11/01 was one of the most horrific events in American history, akin to the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. Day condemned our legislators for their actions with the illegals by asking, “Have we forgotten the lessons of 9-11? As I recall, we had a number of terrorists who got licenses illegally. They were not vetted properly. Have we forgotten?”

He further attacked the Democratic controlled legislature which he says will allow you can commit a bank robbery and walk out with no bail. “You can abort a child up until birth. You can run over and kill an innocent woman as it happened in our town of stony point. Despite the fact that you are a poster child for potential flight, you’re an illegal alien. The bail reform law sets him free with no bail posted. But God forbid you screw up on your EZ-Pass, the governor wants to make that a misdemeanor. You may get bail for that.”

Day added to his attack on the bail reform law. “The bail reform law affords NO protection for witness or victims of a crime but gives the criminal rights that can endanger the average citizen’s safety. Anyone here ever been a victim or a witness? These democrats have ensured that the perpetrator has your personal contact information. Have you ever had your house burglarized? You may wish to plate up some tea and crumpets. The perpetrator and his lawyer now have the right to come back to your house, thus victimizing you a second time. Enough!”

“To characterize what’s going on as utter madness is a huge understatement. The time is now to take our very successful local message forward to the halls of the state legislature and the halls of Congress. We have done the impossible before. It came right out of this room. We will do it again. We will start the tide turning towards common sense governance. An effort that reflects the needs, the wants, and the desires of the average citizen who just wants honesty, integrity and fairness in government. With all of you, we have might on our side. With the people’s support we have right on our side. Starting today, we go into a full sprint into November 3. We will not accept anything less than victory. Thank you very much and let’s take the battle to them on November 3,” Day concluded to a standing ovation.

A number of proforma items were taken care of and when concluded, the nominating of people to run for the positions in the NY 17th Congressional District, the 9th Judicial District, Assembly districts 96, 97, 98 and 99. As well as the 38th and 39th State Senate districts commenced.

One thing people are constantly accusing people involved in politics of is a lack of morals and integrity. Garvey took time out to speak his mind about alleged actions which he felt went against the ideals of the Rockland County Republican Party.

Garvey felt he needed to take a moment of personal privilege, chairman’s privilege to address the crowd about some things that have happened over the past few days. He pointed out the importance of the race for the seat in the 17th Congressional District and that with Donald Trump at the top of the ballot, and the importance that the party finds viable candidates in each of the NY Congressional Districts.

“Sometime ago, a particular candidate expressed interest. He met with a number of us and we liked everything this candidate had to say. This candidate got started. Raised some money. Put some of his own money into the race. By all accounts was doing well. As part of our process in vetting candidates, we do some background stuff. With this particular candidate, some of the stuff that came back, was not in line with Republican values. I’ll leave it at that.”

He was adamant that the stuff they found out was horrifically not in line with Republican values. The committee respectfully approached this candidate who they liked as a candidate and like as a person and informed him that the written comments in public documents that were allegedly made by him were so horrific, that he did not represent the Republican Party of Rockland County or Westchester County. “This individual took our meeting. Acknowledged, in my opinion that he wrote these things. It wasn’t that long ago. He agreed he would exit the race gracefully, which is how we do things in the Republican Party. Over the weekend this individual informed me and others that he is withdrawing his withdrawal, so to speak.”

Garvey said he counseled him against that. As he stated he can’t stop anyone from running. He was extremely resolute from the bottom of his heart, that “This man can not represent the Republican Party. The things that he wrote, allegedly, are so horrific, that it will not only give our immediate critics here in Rockland fire for calling us everything they have always tried to call us in the Republican Party. I believe it will be a national story. I certainly believe it will be fire for the tabloids. It has already been in the tabloids.”

“I’ve asked Josh Eisen not to run. He is here tonight to tell you that he will run. Or he will attempt to run. When his name is placed into nomination, and we come up on the candidate we are going to support, I ask, and again, this is unprecedented for me, I ask that you not support him. Comments were met with a lot of applause.”

Bruce Weinfeld gave a speech asking for Eisen to be given a chance to run. “To be perfectly honest, I am completely unfamiliar with any of these, quote, remarks, of Mr. Josh Eisen.” He went on to tell the crowd of Eisen’s accomplishments and what type of good person he is. He made the motion for the nomination. Garvey asked for a second to the nomination. When no one seconded the motion, Garvey announced that the nomination failed.

Three more people’s names (Yehudis Gottesfeld, Maureen McArdle Schulman and Robert Healy) were put into nomination for the 1`7th District Congressional seat with each of the people making the nominating speech, extolling the virtues and accomplishments of their candidate and the plans for what they will do should they win the seat in November. As each nomination was motioned, then seconded, the name was put in for a later vote to determine who the Republican Candidate would be to run against one of approximately 15 contenders from the Democratic Party for the spot.

When the final name was put into nomination and seconded, Garvey called for a written ballot vote. A break was called while the voting and tallying of the ballots took place. When the votes had been counted, Garvey called for the committee people to take their seats to get the rest of the convention moving so they can all go home. “After the tally is complete, I am pleased to announce that Yehudis Gottesfeld will be the nominee for the Rockland County Republican Party in the 17th Congressional District.

Gottsfeld, 25 told the committee members that it is without reservation and great thanks and excitement, that she accepted the nomination to become the Republican Congressional Candidate for NY’s 17th Congressional District. “I understand the tremendous amount of work ahead and how difficult it will be to win this district. I also know that County Executive Day and former County Executive Astorino and their tireless teams in Rockland and Westchester Counties, have shown us that it is possible for a Republican to win this district.”

“I will strive to be worthy of it. I appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in this race. Those who have stepped up and put themselves on the line to fight for our values. Or those who work behind the scenes. I believe public service in whatever form it takes is a worthwhile endeavor. It has been truly inspiring to see the work that others have done to improve our community and our country.”

She hopes to work with everyone to strive to build a better and more free society and empower families and individuals to direct their own lives.

She gave a bit of her personal history and explained what shaped her ideals to bring her to this point in her life. She said that one of the biggest influences was when her younger brother Eli who was born with a heart defect called HLHS. Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome which meant the left side of his heart was severely underdeveloped. His life was a struggle and his struggles impacted her family both personally and financially. As like so many families, this medical situation put their savings at risk. “For me, this meant growing up without my parents at home. As the frequently travelled for Eli’s care, I put myself through life by working and earning merit scholarships and later when my brother got cancer, I spend my nights sleeping and studying in his hospital room. Seeing Eli struggle, inspired me to volunteer to help people with disabilities. Autistic, down syndrome, paraplegic, cancer stricken and others. Professionally I became a chemical engineer and did it to help improve the world.” Unfortunately, Eli passed in 2018 at the ripe young age of 17.

“The challenges we face today as a country and a community, burdensome taxes, high cost of living, over regulation, lack of job opportunities, and a democratic party that has gone over the deep end. They have given up common sense and our shared American values. They have started embracing hate mongering, socialism, command and control theories, and every dangerous and radical ideology they can find. All are very real.”

She feels that the Republican party has this opportunity to correct some of these positions and begin to restore common sense and rebuild our nation together. “I promise to do my part to work everyday with you, our local leaders, to support Republicans up and down the ballot. To fight for our local values our American values and to stand with our GREAT President in our shared fight for freedom. I will never forget the party or the people that have so graciously placed their trust in me. I will do all I can to bring more votes to the Republican Party. We will work to win in all of our elections this November. We will work together. And we will always stand by our values of the national and local Republican Parties. Thank you again Chairman Garvey, County Executive Day and the rest of the Republican Committee. May God bless you all. And may God bless Rockland and Westchester counties. And may God bless the United States of America.”

“Like I have always said, running for office is not easy. It’s a calling. It’s a lot of work and I take my hat off to anyone who puts theirs into the ring and chooses to go down this difficult path. Thank you all and congratulations to Yehudis.” Garvey stated before he began talking about George Hoemann to nominate him to run for the 38th Senate District.

The convention then nominated Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoemann to run for the seat in the 38th State Senate District. Garvey in nominating Hoemann, praised Senator Eugene Levy and Thomas Morahan. He pointed out that Levy and Morahan made sure that Rockland was well represented in Albany that the smallest county in the state had the same influence if not more as the biggest counties in the state. He added that they made sure the Republican values of Rockland county were well represented and found their way into the laws and policies of the great state of New York.

“Unfortunately,” he continued, “Over a decade ago, the Republicans lost this seat and the results have been disastrous. Leading the pack of the Democratic assault in Albany on Republican and suburban values has been Senator David Carlucci. It was at his hands that NY has such abhorrent legislation as the reproductive health act allowing the murder of babies up to the date of birth and decriminalizing the assault and murder of a pregnant woman. NYS criminal justice reform which eliminates cash bail, tying the hands of our professional prosecutors and leading to an increase of crime and lawlessness.”

Garvey said Senator Carlucci has been an embarrassment to his district and that it’s time we take the seat back. “It’s time that Rockland County reassert itself with a NYS senator that, like Senators Levy and Morahan, brings Rockland County values and pragmatism back to Albany. A senator that will work tirelessly for ALL Rocklanders, change the direction of NYS and restore a sense of greatness to a state that has recently become second rate. I believe that person is George Hoemann.”

Garvey praised Hoemann for all of the work he has done in his time as Supervisor, bringing fiscal responsibility to the town. Preserving vast amounts of open space, both for the enjoyment of residents as well as preserving the character and aesthetics of the landscape. “George has made the tough decisions on financial decisions and spending and there fore kept our taxes in check. More importantly George represents OUR values. Suburban values, Republican values. As a senator, George will build on his overwhelming success here in Clarkstown and will continue in Albany. Therefore, it is my honor to nominate George Hoemann for the 38th Senate district.”

Hoemann graciously and enthusiastically accepted the nomination. “The decision to run for state senate wasn’t one I took lightly. Through a lot of thought, much prayer, discussion with friends, supporters and family, it became clear and obvious to me that throwing my hat into the ring was something that I ABSOLUTELY HAD to do. I’m not going to sit back and watch as problems occur. What we’re witnessing in Albany is beyond troubling.”

As did Day Hoemann attacked the current leadership in our state senate as representing an out of touch extreme way of thinking that is not in line with our values, the values of Rockland and Westchester Counties.

“As the chairman said, the 38th District is one that has been led by giants such as Levy and Morahan. I would have to believe that if either one of them were sitting in the state senate today, that a lot of the crazy ideas that are coming out would not be passed into law. I just a very short time, one year that the radical left has brought our state to dangerous bail reform which we at the town level are dealing with on a daily basis. A Medicaid system that is on the brink of collapse and a more than a $6 billion budget deficit. I have never shied away form making a tough decision.” Hoemann said.

He believes now, more than ever, for the first time perhaps in our lifetime, it’s the right time to take his experience to fight for the people in the district and bring His strong record of success to Albany.

“Every day another New Yorker gives up hope and moves out to another state.” Hoemann pointed out. 70,000 last year alone left New York. “Each passing week another policy idea is passed into law without thinking what the consequences will be for state and local governments. Just today in my meeting with our town building inspector, he brought to my attention that 3 weeks ago there was a radical policy approved in terms of a new building code that was passed into law recently and there is no grace period. Literally on May 12, the building code is going to change across NYS and there’s absolutely no grace period. Businesses are going to lose money. No training has been provided for the local municipalities.”

His main message is that this is the type of thinking that we have to try work against. “I am going to take my passion and my 22 years experience of working in the not for profit sector and time as town supervisor and represent you in Albany. Hoemann received a standing ovation as he left the podium.”

Ronny Diz, Chairman of the Haverstraw Republican Committee, received the nomination for the 96th Assembly District. “I was not going to run again for election, but this is a dam shock.” Diz went on to give his history as serving in the NYPD for 27 years, retiring as a detective 3rd grade. “I was in the 19th precinct for 14 years and then I went into counter terrorism intel work.” He also did 34 years combined active and reserve military and retired after 34 years in the military at the rank of Colonel.

“I’m also a member of the Rockland county planning board. It’s very important work that we do. I also would like to comment what our county executive said about 1984. No joke. If you read the book 1984, read the book brave new world. It’s happening. This is NO JOKE. Socialism is creeping into our country. It’s here in our county because of Ken Zebrowski and others. I intend to fight with Colin Schmitt in Albany on our behalf. I don’t like this bail reform. I don’t like the safe act. And I don’t like the bridge named after Cuomo’s dad at all.” This got a rousing applause from the crowd.

“There’s hard work to be done. I am looking forward to working with everybody. No one will be excluded. We’re all a team. I have always been a team player. Myself, I am kind of quiet, but this is a fight that all of us have to win. I don’t like the fact that a child can be aborted at 9 months old. As far as I’m concerned, you’re killing an American citizen”.

Karl Brabenec received the nomination for re- election in the 98th district and Colin Schmitt got the nomination for re – election in the 99th district. The both basically reiterated the feelings and facts that others before them in the night explained.

The convention was unified around the need to bring sensible, reasonable and American citizen centered legislation back to New York and the nation. The convention ended with the singing of God bless America.

Now the campaigning begins.

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