Aubertine Wins Support From Golisano’s Political Group

State Senator Darrel Aubertine has picked up the support of the most prominent citizen clamoring for change in Albany.

Rochester billionaire Tom Golisano, once a third-party candidate for Governor, announced that his new independent political group will spend some of its $5 million budget to back Aubertine’s bid for a first full term.

Aubertine welcomed the support.  “I’m not going to speak for Mr. Golisano, he can do that for himself,” Aubertine said. “But if he recognizes the work that I’ve done and agrees with me, I’m happy to have his support.”

It’s an important endorsement because Aubertine narrowly won a special election earlier this year to fill the open Senate seat against a Republican challenger who had little name recognition in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties, where a majority of the district’s voters live.  This time, he faces Watertown attorney David Renzi, who is better known in the North Country.  Aubertine’s campaign expects to be outspent by Renzi during the campaign.

Renzi, in a statement, criticized Aubertine as having failed to deliver change during six years in the Legislature. “The people of Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties don’t need a Senator to represent the interests of billionaires,” Renzi said. “We need a fresh face, fresh ideas and a Senator who will stand up to the special interests, and finally, deliver real change and results.”

Golisano’s group, Responsible New York, will spend its money to support candidates who will promise to support a list of changes, outlined on its website:

  • Responsible State Budgeting
  • Real Estate Tax Reform
  • Election and Campaign Finance Reform (including redistricting )
  • True Government Transparency
  • An End to Unfunded Mandates
  • Equitable Distribution of Economic Development Resources
  • Government Employee Compensation & Pensions Consistent with Private Sector
  • An End to Back-Door Borrowing/Reining in Our of Control Authorities

Candidates were expected to fill out a questionnaire covering those issues.  Aubertine’s spokesman, Drew Mangione, said he did not know whether Aubertine filled out the form or not, but said Aubertine has already pledged his support for a package of reforms pending in the State Senate.  He also supports initiative and referendum, which would allow average citizens to propose changes to state laws and would allow them to try to force statewide votes on issues, according to Mangione.

Golisano has thrown his group’s backing behind nearly two-thirds of the incumbents in the State Senate.  His organization is not saying how much it will spend to support individual candidates.  As an independent political organization, Responsible New York cannot coordinate its efforts with the campaigns of the candidates it supports.Sena

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